Takes and trash talk from both ALL sides of the NHL's most obscure PATHETIC* rivalry

* Thanks, Kevin Lowe!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Ducks Gameday—And now, your Minnesota iLLLLLLLd

(that’s “Wild” spelled with zero Ws and seven Ls, by the way, a tribute to their all-time postseason record against Anaheim.)

Game Four: (2) Anaheim Ducks at (7) Minnesota Wild
(ANA leads series 3-0, JavaGeek ‘odds’: ANA 95%)

Aww, doesn't this picture take you back to the ol' Disney days?

Are the Ducks really going to pull off another sweep, their fourth since 2003? To put that in perspective, the rest of the NHL over that timespan has had only two sweeps (TB 1, NJ 1).

It's by no means an automatic, given the Wild's lofty home record and how closely each game of the series has been. Let’s not forget that Minnesota has a history of resilience—back in 2003 Minnesota fought back twice from a 3-games-to-1 deficit before hitting the J.S. Giguere wall in the 3rd round. All-time, the Wild are 6-1 in games that they can be eliminated; Anaheim is 6-2 in games that they can eliminate an opponent.

Should the Wild win G4, they can also take comfort in the fact that Anaheim has never in its history won a G5, though it has a 3-2 record in series that have gone at least five games.

The main problem that Minnesota has with Anaheim when it comes to postseason play is that it never gets to show off the best part of its game—relentlessly protecting a lead. How's this for a fun fact? In four-plus games in the 2003 series, the Wild had a lead for only 3 minutes and 53 seconds. In the first three games in this year's series, the Wild have led for only 3 minutes and 51 seconds. It certainly can be frustrating trying to come back against Minnesota (I'm told), but there just hasn't been any opportunity to demonstrate that.

The Ducks played a pretty awesome G3, holding both Demitra and Gaborik shotless, and at the same time allowing Rob Niedermayer to unleash his top-secret weapon (Backstrom: "HE CAN SHOOT?"). Even though MIN had the last change, Pahlsson and RNieds still managed to get on the ice for 60% of Gaborik's even-strength ice time, and both Pronger and Scotty were awesome as well. Turned out to be probably Breezy's easiest game of the series.

Bryzgalov quote of the day (talking about his performance in last year's playoffs):

The witty Bryzgalov tried to convince reporters in his limited English on Monday that he couldn't quite recall his success. "I forget about a year ago," he said. "I have really, really short memory. Sometimes if you ask me what date today [is] I can't tell you. ... I know it's a Monday, but what number?"
Prediction: I did well last game predicting according to the '03 Detroit series scores, so sticking with that trend, it'll be Ducks 3, Wild 2. Ducks, by the way, have won their last seven G4s. Goals by Kunitz, Pahlsson, and the scoreless Niedermayer.

[UPDATE: From the Anaheim Ducks' official site: "Francois Beauchemin will not play in tonight's Game 4 after taking a puck to the face in Game 3 on Sunday night. His status for the rest of the postseason is uncertain."]

Go Ducks.


Anonymous said...

Loving that you are determinedly predicting a goal by Pahlsson each time around... I want to see Sammy get a goal in this series too. :D

Anonymous said...

i love bryz. he is sooo funny. GO DUCKS! no predictions from me, when i do, they lose.

Zanstorm said...

3-1 Wild. This series has to go longer! I have too many Ducks in my pool for it to be a sweep.

I can't believe that the Ducks have never won a game 5. Strange. I bet that hex goes goes away in these playoffs.

Bryce said...

Losing Frenchy B is quite a real kick to the collective sack of the ducks. I wonder how they'll remake the lines, since I can't recall too many game when frenchy was out and pronger was in.

Maybe Scott-Huskins, just because Kent's got better wheels than O'donnell, and they'll have to contend with the slovaks.

Also, I imagine Parros and Boogey will meet tonight, since Lemaire NEEDS to fire his troops up, and nothing would do that more than leaving a bloody stache on the ice.

Note to George: Try not to be killed.

Earl Sleek said...

Note to George: Try not to be killed.

Frankly, if I were Carlyle I wouldn't be playing Parros tonight, even if Penner is unavailable. I'd stick to the gameplan of only playing Moustache at home, when (a) he can be hidden from dangerous opponent lines, and (b) the crowd actually likes him.

As for Frenchie's replacement, I hear Aaron Rome is up for his second NHL game of the year. Should be interesting how Carlyle plays this hand.

Earl Sleek said...

I want to see Sammy get a goal in this series too.

Oh, and to address this, actually my motto has been for quite a while that I care very little whether Sammy scores a goal or not--that's not really his value at all.

So it's kind of silly that Pahlsson always makes my predictions, because (a) it's unlikely, and (b) it's not that important in my eyes.

Sammy, you'd be my favorite even if you carried an 82-game goose egg.

RudyKelly said...

Wow, someone's pretty cocky.

I imagine the team is making Beauchemin sit out because they have a three game lead; otherwise, he's a huge pussy. You don't skate with your face!

Julian said...

LA Times reporting Frenchy has been upgraded to probable:

Defenceman Francois Beauchemin is probable for Game 4 after receiving numerous stitches to close a deep gash on his chin in Sunday's 2-1 victory. He was injured late in the third period after trying to deflect a slap shot by Wild forward Mark Parrish. The puck jumped up on Beauchemin's stick and caught him in the jaw. A Ducks spokesman said X-rays showed no broken bones or structural damage around the jaw. Beauchemin, who scored two goals in the Ducks' Game 2 win, was not at practice Monday but probably will be available for the game. - LA Times

Earl Sleek said...

Alas, julian, I believe the Anaheim update is more recent (and more definitive). He'll be out.

Kind of strange when you half-wish that injuries would happen in the position where you have the most depth: in the net. Nothin' personal, Breezy. Play your Russian brains out tonight.

Earl Sleek said...

Hubris will be the death of me, eh? Not entirely unexpected, but interesting nonetheless.

Back to Anaheim, and we're bringing an opposing squad with us!

Congrats, WiLLLLLLLd.

Bryce said...

Wild enforcer Derek Boogaard claimed it was a sucker punch. He was angry because Johnsson never fights.

"It shows that a guy like Brad May has no respect, so he deserves no respect from anybody," Boogaard said. "And that's how he's going to get treated."

Says teammate of Hall and Burns, who attacked huskins, and pounded on a prone Perry, respectively.

Gotta like the noggin on the Boogster.It's not quite up to par with his oft used knee, but it's right up there.

Anonymous said...

I am so happy to have May on our side... Anyone remember his part in the Bertuzzi-Moore debacle? He's not the game's player, but the team's player to the core.