You knew there wasn’t going to be a four game sweep in this series, didn’t you? If not, you haven’t been paying attention.
Monday night, when the series between the Ducks and Stars moved to Dallas, the Stars got a 3-0 shutout. The series is now 2-1, in favor of Anaheim.
A huge part of that shutout was goaltender Kari Lehtonen, who had not won a previous playoff game, much less a series. Lehtonen made 37 saves, frustrating the Ducks, who clearly had some excellent chances, but were only to be denied.
Anaheim played well, in fact, they played more consistently throughout the entire game, but they had nothing to show for it. They just need to bring that same level of effort to Game 4.
“I told the players that and I thought we did a lot of good things,” said coach Bruce Boudreau. “We did a lot of good things but we didn’t score. It’s a real difference playing with the lead and playing from behind in this league and from confidence to taking chances. When we were pressing a little much there and it was giving them some odd-man breaks, but I thought chance wise and skating wise and territorial wise, that we were a lot better tonight than we’ve been in the first two games.”
One can only hope that the nasty chippy play mellows out a bit. Antoine Roussel taking shots at Ryan Getzlaf’s jaw? The one that is being protected by a football-like helmet because there are too many stitches to count from a puck in the face? Not cool.
“There’s class,” said Getzlaf after the game. “You can play hard, but, me, personally, if a guy’s got a bad jaw, I’m not going to hit him in the jaw. But everybody’s different. It’s going to be a war.”
It already is a war. The question becomes how many more casualties will there be before this is all over?
Then there was Ryan Garbutt who dove for a puck and got tangled up with defenseman Stephane Robidas. Robidas, who was traded from the Stars at the beginning of March, broke his right leg on the play, the same one he broke just under five months ago. Robidas is one of those casualties, out for the remainder of the postseason.
“You think about the play and you wonder how stupid it is, really, how pointless it is diving at a puck that really has no play on anything,” said Andrew Cogliano. “It’s not right, and you feel for him because the poor guy has broken his leg twice. He’s not only a good guy and a solid guy, but he’s a great player. That’s a huge loss for us.”
Earlier in the regular season Garbutt was suspended after a hit that knocked out Dustin Penner. Garbutt is not going to be a fan favorite in Anaheim, that’s for sure.
Jamie Benn, Valeri Nichushkin and Garbutt all scored for Dallas, who had not hosted a playoff game since May 2008 when it lost in the Western Conference Finals to Detroit.
Benn’s goal came with less than a minute left in the first period when he tapped in a rebound that Frederik Andersen, who made 19 saves, could not control.
Nichushkin made it 2-0 at 17:15 of the middle frame. The Ducks have come back from greater deficits than this, but by the time Garbutt scored at 7:52 of the third, that was pretty much it for Anaheim. Not the way Lehtonen was playing.
“Tomorrow is a new day,” said Patrick Maroon, who got a game misconduct late in the game for not leaving Benn alone. “We’ll practice and get ready to come back Wednesday.”