Monday, May 21, 2007

Selanne steals a victory

Temmu Selanne and his fellow Ducks had a pretty quiet afternoon at the Joe on Sunday, they were held off the scoreboard for the majority of the game, incapable of making much of an attack and making Dominik Hasek’s job rather easy by not finding much need to shoot at the net in the first three periods. The quiet period of reflection would end though with 47 seconds to go in the game and for a full 12 minutes to follow in OT.

Detroit seemed poised to take a 3-2 lead in the series with a one goal lead and by locking down the Ducks for the majority of the third period. It took a pointless penalty by Pavel Datsyuk to provide life for Anaheim and set the stage for Selanne’s heroics in OT.

Datsyuk took the lazy man’s penalty an interference penalty in the neutral zone late in the third period, providing the Ducks with a man advantage with less than two minutes to go in the third. Randy Carlyle chose to pull JS Giguere with two minutes to go and provided his Ducks with a two man advantage, a move which while risky proved to be pure genius.

The Ducks regrouped and made amends for their lethargic play in the previous fifty eight minutes, Scott Neidermayer once again played the role of the go to guy as he scored on a deflected show off of Niklas Lidstrom’s stick with 47 seconds to go in the third.

That goal set the stage for Overtime and yet another mistake that would prove costly for the Red Wings. A forced turnover near the 12 minute mark of the overtime would be the mistake that put the Ducks in the driver’s seat in the Western final. Andreas Lilja , heading out from his own end swooped across the front of his net only to have Andy McDonald knock the puck from his stick, snapped up by Selanne the Duck’s elder statesman snapped a backhand over Hasek’s glove for the win.

It proved to be a night of great highs and lows for Lilja, prior to his miscue in his own end it was his goal that had set the Red Wings up by a goal and for what appeared to be a certain victory.

With the loss the Red Wings must now win the final two games should they have any hopes of playing the Ottawa Senators for Lord Stanley’s Cup. Game six comes up on Tuesday in Anaheim, a chance for Brian Burke’s team to clinch their division in front of the home side crowd and to force the Senators to cross the continent in their quest for a championship.

Some of the coverage out of Detroit from Sunday’s game isn’t particularly positive about Gary Bettman’s new NHL and the need for enforcement during the play, the sometimes questionable calls that have been inflicted on all the series this post season are starting to catch up to the league as the grumbling grows louder with each loss or elimination.

We provide some of the press from game five below:

Ducks emerge from coma just in time
NHL should be embarrassed by Datsyuk penalty
Down and out?
That's gotta hurt
Biggest goal of Selanne's career comes at right time for Ducks
Lilja's giveaway leaves Wings facing elimination
Own worst enemy
Wings' Lilja rides roller coaster from hero to goat
Detroit pays steep price for penalty
One game away
Lucky Ducks on top

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