Sunday, April 27, 2014
Ducks' goal: Avoid unpredictable Game 7
By Richard Durrett
DALLAS -- The Anaheim Ducks know all about the precarious position of 3-2 leads in a best-of-seven series. They headed into Game 6 on the road last year in Detroit with a 3-2 lead in the series. But the Red Wings won in overtime and then skated to a Game 7 victory at the Honda Center in Anaheim. It ended a season with high expectations way earlier than planned.
The Ducks don't want a repeat.
"It’s a learning curve," Ducks forward Corey Perry said. "Every year is different. There’s a lot of guys in there that remember last year and what happened. Coming into [Sunday night in Dallas], it’s a huge game. You don’t want to go back home for a Game 7. You want to finish it here and move on. That’s our mindset and that’s the way we got to approach it."
The Ducks found their offense in Game 5; they're aiming to keep it clicking in Dallas on Sunday night to avoid a Game 7 at home.
For the Ducks, that means winning in Dallas for the first time in these playoffs. In Games 3 and 4, the power play was held without a goal, Frederik Andersen was pulled in the third period of Game 4 and Ryan Getzlaf didn't play in Game 4 with an aggravated upper-body injury.
But on home ice, it's been a different story. Anaheim scored early in the third period and didn't look back, going 4-for-6 on the power play in Game 5 to put itself one win away from the second round. After winning the Pacific Division and failing to get out of the first round last season, the Ducks are focused on finishing the job now and avoiding a Game 7 in which anything can happen -- and usually does.
"At the end of the day, you learn a lot more from losing than you do from winning sometimes," Anaheim forward Nick Bonino said. "It’s why on our shirts we have ‘Unfinished Business’ and stuff like that. Guys don’t want to shy away from that. It’s something that happened. Something that taught us we need to be better no matter how good we are in the regular season."
Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau just hopes that last year's experience means a big lesson was learned.
"It’s an expensive lesson," Boudreau said. "In that [Game 6], we ended up losing in overtime, but we didn’t play a great game. After we won Game 5, we thought, ‘OK, now we’re going to win because we’re only one game away.' Forgetting to tell that the hardest game to win is the fourth one. When you corner a bear or whatever, they fight the hardest.
"That experience with most of the guys that were here last year, I hope works for [Sunday]. We don’t want to wait for a seventh game if we can help it. Obviously, Dallas wants to push it as far as they can go, because in Game 7s, anything can happen. But that would be the experience we gain from it. That’s sort of the message."