In their first loss at home since April 21 against San Jose, the Ducks fell to the Detroit Redwings in game four of the Conference Semi-finals with a final score of 6-3. The three goal difference was the largest margin they have lost by in this postseason.
The first six goals of the game were scored by three players. Corey Perry had the first, just 42 seconds into the first period. The game was tied up ten minutes later with a Detroit goal by Johan Franzen. Franzen scored again 8 minutes later to put the Redwings ahead by one at the end of the first period. Perry retaliated again halfway through the second to tie the score once more.
Detroit player Marian Hossa, who had a goal denied to him in the last contest, quickly put away two goals in three minutes to put the Redwings firmly ahead. His second goal came on a powerplay after Francois Beauchemin earned an interferrence on Detroit player Brett Lebda. The second period ended with a 4-2 score.
The Redwings weren't finished. Three minutes into the third stanza, Detroit player Mikael Samuelsson fired another shot past Hiller, prompting his removal in favor of Giguere. Hiller had 33 shots and five allowed goals in his 42 minutes of play. Tonight was Giguere's first appearance since April 11th, and during his 17 minutes of playing time, he had 6 saves and one goal allowed.
The Ducks were granted a powerplay after Detroit player Darren Helm was called for tripping. Scott Niedermeyer capitalized on this opportunity to score the Duck's third goal of the game. Detroit would score their final goal on an empty net as Giguere was pulled for an extra attacker in the last two minutes of the game, sealing the fate at a 6-3 loss for Anaheim.
Remarkably, penalties for the Ducks were low, but they were poorly timed. Two of the penalties they recieved were during powerplays, thus eliminating the man advantage they had. Each team had a five minute major for fighting after Beauchemin dropped gloves with Tomas Kopecky. Beauchemin landed 8 shots to Kopecky's face before they dragged eachother to the ice. Kopecky landed nothing but the penalty.
One of the critical keys of the game for the Ducks was successfully moving the puck up the ice against a fast Detroit team. In their morning skate, they drilled on passing patterns and moving the puck out of their zone in pressure situations. Detroit was prepared for these movements, as it became signature for the Ducks and were champion in shutting them down. Passes were interrupted and the Ducks had trouble moving the puck out of their zone, which became crippling to their offense.
With this win, Detroit has tied the series with two wins apiece. The Ducks will play the Redwings again in Game 5 in Detroit on Sunday at 2:00 local time. Make sure you buy your mother something nice so she wont be upset that you're spending Mother's Day listening to the game.
Elsewhere in the NHL, the Vancouver Canucks and Chicago Blackhawks are also deadlocked at two wins each, after Chicago's overtime win tonight. The winner of that series will advance to the finals to play the winner of the Ducks/Redwings series.
Hopefully, we can count on the Ducks to be the team in attendance.
Lets Go Ducks.