A huge win on Tuesday delayed what would have been a steep hill to climb. Being down 3-0 in a series is a death certificate. The winning team goes on to win the series 98.7% of the time. To say the win was crucial would be an understatement. It was necessary.
Not only did the Ducks breathe life into this once dismal series, they gave themselves a huge boost of confidence. The Ducks' swagger was back for the first two periods, and the scoreboard (finally) reflected it. The Ducks headed to the 2nd intermission up 4-0 on the road.
But those same Ducks didn't leave the locker room and jump on the ice. Instead it was the Ducks of Games 1 and 2. It started with a parade to the penalty box, and 2 unanswered PP goals. It ended with a 4 minute penalty kill for a high-sticking call on Schneider. And gave Duck fans a good cardio workout.
Randy Carlyle threw Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger together for the first time (at even strength) since the playoffs last year. In the Stanley Cup finals, the two HHOF-bound defensemen skated together to shut down the heralded "pizza" line of Heatly-Spezza-Alfredsson. It worked then, and Carlyle may do it again on Thursday. Pronger had a great game making several key plays and chipped in 2 goals.
Ducks and their fans get some more good news as Corey Perry will probably skate in a game for the first time since his MCL was accidentally slashed exactly 6 weeks ago. He has been practicing with the team for over 2 weeks now, and participated in full contact drills for at least a week. Perry skated in practice with Getzlaf and Brad May. A surprising combination that worked well on Tuesday for the Ducks. The second line combo was Carter centering Selanne and Kunitz; another combo that has worked for the Ducks in the past before Carter broke his wrist. Skating on the fourth line was Bertuzzi and Weight with Southerby riding shotgun. That's one expensive fourth line!
The historical odds of the Ducks winning Game 4 when the record is 1-2 (and Game 1 was played at home) is 56%. This number really surprised me until I thought about it. Being that Game 1 was at home means that the team trailing in the series was the higher seed (and better team). It also is due in part to the trailing team pouring it on to stay in it. At any rate, the Ducks face another must win game. Going down 3-1 in the series against any team is not a position the Ducks want to be in.
The Ducks need to continue their gameplay from the first two periods of Game 3. They also need to do better containing Morrow and Modano. Another key from Game 3 was traffic around Turco. 2 of the 3 goals were scored at the top of the crease. Turco sees the puck so well, you have to crowd him and get a rebound or cross-crease pass to beat him.
Strong forecheck, smart physical play, key goals early, another strong game from Giguere. All of these will help edge that 56% odds higher in favor of the Ducks.
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