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Friday, February 15, 2008

Ducks Gameday—A look back at the '03 playoffs

Dallas Stars (35-21-5, 2nd in west) at Anaheim Ducks (32-22-7, 3rd in west)

Three consecutive games against Detroit, Colorado, and Dallas means I get to talk about the (former) Big 3 of the west. Back in the late 90s, this schedule would probably mean three consecutive losses, but that was in a stretch where that Big 3 made eight straight cup finals (1995 - 2002) and were victorious in six of them. Frankly, that probably should have extended into 2003, as the Big 3 were the top seeds in the west, but the hockey gods were tired of that routine and gave the power of elimination to a certain J.S. Giguere.

During those '03 playoffs, I was nowhere near blogging, but I did have write a regular set of e-mails called "Ducks Hype", in which I chronicled some of the amazing statistics accumulated during that miracle run. It was a very small operation (the distribution list had three recipients), but I thought I'd pull some of those notes from the Dallas series just for nostalgia's sake.

April 28, 2003 (following game 2):

6-0. Against Detroit and Dallas. Detroit, who hadn't lost three games in a row all season, managed to lose four in a row to Anaheim (five, actually, if you count the last regular season matchup). Dallas, who lost just five games at home during the season (one to the Ducks, though), now is at 2-3 at home in the postseason. And now they sit in the same boat as Detroit, who was also fairly confused by their 0-2 deficit.

Consider:
1. Ten Ducks are in their first playoffs ever, including goaltender J.S. Giguere.
2. The Ducks scored their first powerplay goal of the postseason in G2, on their second 5-on-3 of the period, third of the series. Now they are 1 for 23.
3. The Ducks have been outshot in every game, a cumulated 171-120 from Detroit and 94-81 from Dallas. Combined, that's 265-201.
4. Sykora, their top goal scorer, now has but one goal (the 5-OT winner). Jason Krog, the fourth-line center, leads the team with three.
5. The Ducks have gotten zero goals from their defensemen.

Six wins, all by one goal. Four in overtime. Six different Ducks have game-winning goals. The Ducks have started 10 overtime periods (played a total of 132:43 of overtime total), been outshot in those overtimes 81-46, and Giguere has stopped every shot.
May 2, 2003 (following game 4):
No goaltender in the playoffs has faced as many shots on goal as J.S. Giguere, even though a half-dozen have played more games than Jiggy. Through eight games, Giguere has faced 325 shots, and given up 13 goals. Khabibulin in 10 games has seen 299 shots, the second-most, and has allowed twice as many goals (26). Although no goalie has seen as many shots as Giguere has, there are twelve goalies who have given up more goals.

How good is Jiggy's .960 save percentage? Consider this. Currently, Patrick Lalime is second in the league with a .940 save percentage (14 goals allowed on 232 shots). In order for him to get his save percentage up to .960, he would have to stop the next 118 shots on goal.

Lalime is also second in the league in Goals Against Average (Lalime: 1.48, Giguere: 1.27). In order for Lalime to lower his GAA to Jiggy's level, he would have to play almost 94 minutes of shutout hockey.

Lastly, although the Ducks do have a postseason record of 7-1, ironically they have spent more time trailing than leading in this postseason. They have played a total of 612:43, and they have spent 120:14 trailing vs. 118:58 leading. The reason for this discrepancy actually makes a little sense--since more than half their wins came in sudden-death overtime, they get credit for zero time with the lead.
May 7, 2003 (following game 6):
How can you say it's not magical? In all four Ducks wins against the Stars, they scored the game-winner on their final shot of the game.

How can you say it's not magical? In all six games of the series, the Stars were either tied or ahead with 2 minutes left in regulation.

In two series, then, the Ducks have won 8 one-goal games, and in 7 of those 8 wins, the game winner was after the 55-minute mark of the game.
As I reflect back, "magical" might be the right term to describe that playoff year. Even though it ended in G7 tragedy, I think that 2003 playoffs will remain the most special to me, as it really came out of nowhere and featured Anaheim's first toppling of the Big 3 dynasty. Nowadays, it isn't as big a deal; from 2003 to present, the Ducks have eliminated the Big 3 a total of four times, including two sweeps. Still, here's the question for Duck fans: which playoff year or playoff series was the most special for you?

Prediction: The Ducks have edged out the Red Wings and Avalanche; why not make it a Big 3 sweep? Ducks 3, Stars 2. Goals by Perry, Pahlsson, and Pronger.

Go Ducks.

14 comments:

spade-in-victorhell said...

sweeping detriot for the first time in the playoffs was most special...I was going to ducks games since there birth...and always hating the annoying fucken wings fans at our game...also hating the annyoing media jerk-off of them (this applies to the patriots as well). Even the players themselves seemed to have a smug "there beneath us" attitiude...so there was nothing more sweeter and satisfying than sweeping there asses that first time....that was a big fuck you to the media...there fans and there players...the feeling was like your girlfirend finally consenting to having another girl joining the bedroom and just having the night of your life...that kind of euphoria!!!

that lead to more asskicking of the wings and now proper respect...now they fear the quack!!!

woot woot

Earl Sleek said...

Well, I guess this wasn't the most inspring gameday post for a Friday, and normally I'm not that superstitious a person, but the last time I neglected to do a gameday post for a Dallas game, the Ducks lost six in a row.

So at least I hope we avoided that fate.

Bryan said...

Nothing compares to winning the cup. You don't see cup winners walking around with Western Conference Champion shirts. That's what losers do.

VeryProudofYa said...

To be honest, I really thoroughly enjoyed the come from behind series win against the flames. It had a series turning fight in which Beauch leveled Iginla, had a switching of goalies, and featured the rise of Bryzgalov.

Itlan said...

I agree with spade, the first round elimination of the Wings was a sweet moment in Ducks history. After Game 4 at home, I remember walking down the halls, and all the fans were stunned. It was not the ruckus that normally follows a teams progression to the next round. The Ducks were SUPPOSED to be eliminated. It was a real treat for fans, and they continued to treat us to a great playoff year. Last year just had an entirely different feel, like they were destined to pull it off.

alejandro said...

No kidding, as I didn't have TV in 2003, I became entirely too familiar with Steve Carroll. And he couldn't believe it either when the Ducks beat Detroit.

Every OT game after he was like: here we go again, especially after that top 10 (in length) game versus Detroit.

For me too, the best Ducks playoff series has to be that Wings sweep in 2003. Even the Freep was aghast! Federov was questioned, no one was safe!

Earl Sleek said...

You know what? I hadn't really thought about the Calgary series, but that had a lot of things going for it. A suddenly absent then ineffective Giguere, the rise of Bryzgalov, the Beauchemin fight, and Pahlsson really became a force as a superstar shadow.

And a silent Saddledome. That's pretty incredible.

alejandro said...

The Calgary series did indeed have a lot going for it. Also on the radio, Carroll presciently thought that a Beuch and Iginla would spark the Ducks. I hadn't recalled that until just recently, but that truly was a momentum-changer right there. Thanks Frenchy!

Morbo said...

+1 for the 03 Wings sweep. Although the Dallas series was great too, I can still close my eyes and bring up in my mind the photo of Giguere out of position, reaching back with his stick hand and denying Modano.

In fact, every series from that year was just unbelievable. "Magical" pretty much describes the atmosphere in the Pond for all those series that year.

Earl Sleek said...

Goddamn it we are sure shitty against the Stars this year. I think the Ducks will lose the Pacific purely on the strength of head-to-head matchups.

Gotta find a way to possess the puck instead of chasing it for most of the game. Fuck.

voxel said...

Games wasn't that bad... penalty trouble and a mediocre PK killed the Ducks tonight.

VeryProudofYa said...

This one wasn't as infuriating a loss as most games against Dallas. Ducks had a good first, and looked very very meh in the second and third.

Lost mostly on the strength of the 2 5-on-3 goals against.

Just wish Ott hadn't scored the empty netter, he's like Perry without talent.

Earl Sleek said...

I don't know--last night was very frustrating by my eyes. Even-strength was mostly a push, but watching the Stars' PP operate and then watching the Ducks' PP operate, one team certainly knew what it was doing, and the other kept waiting for Schneider to do something.

The difference in the ability to create (and then take) shots and recover pucks was huge.

Bryan said...

Once again, penalties kill the Ducks. No ridiculous calls or non calls from what I saw, I didn't see the Pahlson one which gave Dallas their first 5 on 3. It was a great first period but penalties are such a momentum changer. The 3rd goal was weak on Giguere though Dallas probably would have scored at some point on the 5 on 3. Turco had a couple of chances to give goals to the Ducks, but Bertuzzi couldnt stuff one in and Getzlaf hit the post. Despite that Turco played strong and Selanne had a big open net that he missed.

As Selanne's first game back, it definitely is evident he missed McDonald. He doesn't have anyone to skate with. Marchant is fast but has no hands. Bertuzzi is also inadequate. Weight can pass but once again, Selanne needs someone fast. I think Bobby Ryan should get called up. Selanne also has not regained his hands from last season.