With no Ryan Getzlaf, no Teemu Selanne and not much in the way of goaltending, the Western Conference champion Anaheim Ducks have squandered a two-game lead over the Dallas Stars and the series is now even 2-2.
The headlines came fast and furious in the Anaheim-Dallas series Wednesday and that was even before the opening faceoff. First, Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau decided earlier in the day he was going to make future Hall of Famer Teemu Selanne a healthy scratch. Can you imagine? Actually, it made a lot of sense. Selanne’s production has waned this season with just nine goals and none through three playoff games. Boudreau explained, very diplomatically, that it was a very difficult decision, but in a physical series and without last line change in Dallas, his lineup was better without Selanne in it. That’s when Teemu’s teenaged son Eemil stepped into the fray on Twitter. Using humor to express disappointment over his father’s healthy scratch, Eemil tweeted Boudreau was getting assigned to the American League.
Responses ranged from laughter to aghast. Let’s face it, he’s an 18-year-old kid with a good sense of humor. Cut him some slack. Plus, he removed the tweet shortly thereafter and apologized to anyone he offended – probably at Teemu’s behest.
The Ducks had much bigger problems when it was revealed 30 minutes before game time that Ryan Getzlaf was going to miss the game due to an undisclosed upper-body injury. That’s the same Getzlaf who will finish runner-up for the Hart Trophy this season. Life without ‘Getz’ didn’t seem to affect the Ducks early as they jumped out to a 2-0 lead on goals by Bryan Allen (his first in 128 games) and Patrick Maroon off a shot by Mathieu Perreault, who replaced Getzlaf on the top line. But Anaheim didn’t generate much in the way of offensive pressure and the Stars replied with four unanswered goals to win the game and even the series 2-2. It got so bad, even Corey Perry got whipped by Antoine Roussel in a late-game scrap. Now the bigger question. How serious is the Getzlaf injury and can the Ducks go back in time to the NHL trade deadline and do a better job of trying to acquire either Ryan Kesler or Mike Cammalleri? There’s no answer to that of course, but perhaps a more intriguing question is who the Ducks go with in goal? Frederik Andersen wasn’t very good Wednesday night. Jonas Hiller might be yesterday’s news. So maybe it’s top prospect John Gibson, ranked No. 2 overall in Future Watch. Gibson won all three games he played late this season, allowing just four goals. But do the Western Conference champion Ducks have the nerve to go with an unproven commodity on home ice in Game 5?
Brian Costello is The Hockey News’s senior editor and a regular contributor to the thn.com Post-To-Post blog. For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine. Follow Brian Costello on Twitter at @BCostelloTHN