You might ask yourself how the second game of a best of seven series could possibly be a must-win, but for the Anaheim Ducks it was. After a disappointing 4-1 loss at home on Wednesday night against the Nashiville Predators, the Ducks knew they could not give up a 2-0 series lead to Preds while at home and risk being swept in Nashville.
However, the Ducks have basically turned must-win games into an art form, especially throughout the second half of the season. With great displays of last-minute goals, and overtime stunners, the Ducks knew that they had the ability to thrive under this type of pressure.
This season Teemu Selanne set a new NHL record being the first player with four score-tying goals with three minutes or less remaining. All four of these goals came after the All-Star break and all four also led to Ducks victories.
However, this season Selanne was not alone in the heroics department. Corey Perry, whom many believe has a good chance at winning the Hart trophy, became only the third player in franchise history to score 50 or more goals in a single season, and fifteen of those goals came in the month of March alone, helping his team clinch the victories they needed to play in the postseason.
Would last-minute heroics be necessary for this heavily weighted game 2? Or would they come out in full force from the very start?
A little over four minutes into the game, the Ducks found themselves with a two-man advantage for about seventy –two seconds. After about thirty-five seconds and hardly any shots, coach Randy Carlyle called a time out. What exactly was said will remain between Carlyle and his team, but whatever he said, it worked.
Perry scored with seven seconds remaining in the two-man advantage and Selanne shortly followed up with another goal in the remaining power play.
After these two goals, the Ducks knew they could win the game.
“We came out ready to play right off the puck drop, “ Ryan Getzlaf commented. “Our power play executed early in this hockey game and it changed momentum right off the hop.”
Bobby Ryan added, “It set the tone for the game. It gave us a little bit of a comfort level to roll with throughout that first period.”
Shea Weber cut the lead in half less than five minutes into the second period, but both Ryan and Getzlaf added tallies for the Ducks, giving them a 4-1 lead going into the third.
However, the Ducks found themselves only up by one with half of the third period remaining, but it was Ryan with the empty-netter at 19:07 that sealed the deal for a much-needed Ducks victory.
“It got uncomfortable a little bit, “ Ryan said. “I think our team always makes it interesting.”
Despite the Ducks know that, despite the win, they still have a bit of catching up to do.
“We’ve got to go into a tough building now and get our home ice back, “ Getzlaf stated. “That’s all we can focus on.”
The third game of this series will be in Nashville on Sunday afternoon.