Game 3 Thread: Ducks @ Wings - Planting The Seed Of Doubt

Harry How

In Game 2, the Ducks mounted an incredible comeback over the Detroit Red Wings in the third period only to lose the game in the beginning minutes of OT. The series shifts back to Detroit and the unfriendly confines of Guantanamo Bay Joe Louis Arena. Even if the Red Wings ended up winning, did Anaheim plant the seed of doubt in their opponent?

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Anaheim Ducks
@ Detroit Red Wings

Saturday, May 4, 2013, 4:30 PM PDT
Joe Louis Arena

TV: KDOC (in market), NBCSN (out-of-market), RDS2 (Canada) & TSN (Canada)

Radio: ESPN Radio 710 AM

Your Enemy: Winging It In Motown

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Series Tied: 1-1

SERIES LEADERS

Scoring: The good news is, after two games of high scoring, the Ducks have many players with a max of two points: Ryan Getzlaf (1-1), Bobby Ryan (1-1), Kyle Palmieri (1-1), Teemu Selanne (1-1), Saku Koivu (1-1), Francois Beauchemin (1-1), Nick Bonino (1-1) and Cam Fowler (0-2). The bad news is one very important name is missing: Corey Perry. (Robby wrote about Perry in his Staturday post today.) Perry has zero points.

Detroit has less multi-point earners. Damien Brunner (who went sub-zero cold late in the regular season) leads the Red Wings with three points (1-2); followed by Dan Cleary (0-2), Johan Franzen (2-0) and Pavel Datsyuk (1-1) with two. Franzen leads the league in power play goals with two.

Goaltending: Jimmy Howard and Jonas Hiller made both starts for their respective teams giving each of them one win and one loss a piece, albeit Hiller's loss came in overtime. Thanks to Thursday's high schoring affair, both goalies series stats are less than spectacular. Hiller holds a 2.98 GAA and .889 SV% with 6 goals allowed on 54 shots. Conversely, Howard has a 3.00 GAA and a slightly better .897 SV% on 6 goals allowed on 58 shots.

Who's Hot? Faceoffs are all too crucial in this series. Saku Koivu sits just outside the top ten at No. 11 (appropriate) in the NHL in face-off win percentage at 60%, 21 wins and 14 losses. If you're curious, Getzlaf, Bonino and David Steckel aren't even in the top 30 in win percentage.

Where one of our four true-centers sits high in the league leaders, two Detroit players are even higher. No. 6 and No. 7 in the league are Joakim Andersson and Pavel Datsyuk. Andersson has a 62.5% win percentage with 15 wins and 9 losses and Datsyuk wins 61.2% of draws at 30 wins and 19 losses. Valtteri Filppula falls in the top 30 at No. 18.

Who's Not? Well, it's not just one person. The Ducks are dead last in the league in penalty kill (shocker). They have a 60% success rate. Anaheim has been shorthanded 10 times and have been scored on four times. Luckily, Detroit is near the basement, too. Sitting three slots above the Ducks, Detroit has a 66.7% kill rate on 9 penalties and 3 goals against. Conversely, Detroit has the No. 1 power play and the Ducks have the fourth best.

****

I've been struggling with this question since Thursday night: do we wipe the overtime loss game from memory or keep it in mind because the Ducks accomplished something pretty incredible by coming back?

My choice was the latter. As much as hockey is a physical game, it's a mental game as well. It's all about planting the seed of doubt in the minds of the Red Wings. No lead is safe, not even a giant one. It's been that way all season, which has it's good and bad sides.

The good side is all mental for the Ducks. Last season they collapsed and went Debbie Downer when the other team scored first, tied or took the lead. Not this year's Ducks. They know they can come back from anything. Which leads me to the bad side. By having to always come back, it means the Ducks aren't scoring first, or if they are, they're playing soft defense allowing the other team to get ahead. Some how Bruce has to manage that balance between, 'you know you guys can do this' and 'let's not play catchup again'.

As for the lineup, Jonas Hiller is back in net. Had the team not come back and had he not made some 'ARE YOU F**KING KIDDING ME' ridiculous saves towards the end, I'm pretty sure we would have seen Viktor Fasth starting a the Devil's Armpit Joe Louis Arena. I'm fine with this move. The only thing that concerns me is the opening one to two minutes of each period. For whatever reason, this is when the Ducks, especially Hiller, are at their most vulnerable.

Biggest lineup change/message sending by Boudreau is the insertion of a now healthy (and hopefully not crappy) Luca Sbisa for Game 2 goat, Sheldon Souray. At first I read people thinking he was hurt. He says he's not but I'm pretty sure you can't go on IR for hurt feelings.

As imagined, Souray was not thrilled with the benching but gave the party line to Eric Stephens:

To be a fly on the way during that conversation... Anyway, the Ducks have won once already this season at The Seventh Circle Of Hell Joe. So it can be done. The Ducks just have to remember to play smart (i.e. no BS after the whistle) because officiating in this series - for both teams - is ranging somewhere between horse shit and dog shit.

Quick lineup change for Detroit, with Danny Dekeyser breaking his thumb in Game 2, he is being replaced by defenseman Brian Lashoff. After his playing his first game in months, Todd Bertuzzi will not be playing in Game 3. No, they aren't putting in annoying little shit Jordin Tootoo (at least I think they're not); instead Mikael Samuelsson draws in.

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