To the dismay of a few anonymous New University staff members, the Anaheim Ducks have fought their way through the Western Conference and are now prepared to make their second bid for the Stanley Cup. Their 4-3 defeat of the Detroit Red Wings in Game 6 of the Western Conference finals last week has placed Anaheim in the championships, where it will face the Ottawa Senators beginning May 28.
But to simply brush off the defeat of Detroit would be an insult to Red Wing Head Coach Mike Babcock. Heading into the third period of Game 6, Babcock’s Red Wings were looking at a 3-0 shut out which would end their season. Goals from Anaheim’s Rob Niedermayer, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, along with the wall formed by goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere, gave Detroit a grim-looking end to the series.
I was walking into Irvine Lanes when the third period began. A friend of mine who happens to be a long-time L.A. Kings fan was there with me and pointed out the score, but not without adding a sarcastic comment or two about how the Ducks would probably end up losing. Once I saw the 3-0 score I decided to brag about it and insult the Kings as well as the Sharks, which happens to be the team preferred by another friend we were with that night.
After a few insults back and forth and nearly seven full frames of our little bowling tournament, I looked back up to the screen hoping to have a little more to brag about. Unfortunately, all I could do was turn around and keep bowling. Somewhere during the third period, the Ducks had scored a fourth goal courtesy of Samuel Pahlsson but Detroit had somehow beaten Giguere and scored three goals, bringing the game to 4-3.
As shocking as it was, I think I was expecting it on some level. I went to a game at the Honda Center back in January. It was the first game I had been to in years and it was proving to be a memorable one. With only 10 minutes left in the third period much of the audience began to leave hoping to beat traffic. The Ducks were leading the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-0 and it looked as though the game was finished. But you can never completely put your faith in the Ducks; within 10 minutes the Blue Jackets had scored four times bringing the score to 4-3 in their favor. With 29 seconds left in the game Teemu Selanne was given a penalty shot, which he had no success with. Within the final 10 minutes of play the Ducks had given up four goals and lost a game that they had mostly led.
Remembering all of that as I watched the final few minutes of last week’s game, I realized that Pahlsson’s goal was one of the two things the Ducks had to hang on to
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