Ducks unable to get sweep

first_imgST. PAUL, Minn. – A desperate move by a desperate coach breathed some life into the Minnesota Wild. Jacques Lemaire’s decision to put his top three scorers – Brian Rolston, Marian Gaborik and Pavol Demitra – on one line generated the kind of offense the Ducks had stifled in the first three games of this series. Marian Gaborik scored a rare power-play goal and Niklas Backstrom made 28 saves to help the Wild avoid a sweep with a 4-1 victory over the Ducks in Game 4 on Tuesday night. “All the guys we were waiting for, they all scored tonight,” Lemaire said. Rolston, Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Mark Parrish also scored for the Wild, who had been thoroughly dominated by Chris Pronger, Scott Niedermayer and the defensive Ducks in the first three games of the series. Minnesota still faces an incredibly daunting task. Only two teams in NHL history have come back from 3-0 deficits to advance in the playoffs, the 1975 New York Islanders and the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs. Game 5 is Thursday in Anaheim. For at least one more game, the Wild can hope. Trailing 1-0 after Pronger’s power-play goal just over six minutes into the second period, the game changed about 10 minutes later when Lemaire went with the Big Line, assembling a potent unit that accounted for 86 of the team’s 225 goals during the season. That’s more than 38 percent of the Wild’s total, a mark made more impressive by the 49 games missed between them. But through the first three playoff games, Gaborik, Demitra and Rolston had a grand total of two goals and one assist, and Bouchard, a 20-goal scorer, didn’t even have a shot on goal. The Wild’s strategy Tuesday night was simple: Shoot, shoot, and shoot some more. After getting only 20 shots on goal in Game 3, the Wild had 40 on Tuesday night. “They played desperate,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. Bouchard tied it with less than two minutes remaining in the second, and Gaborik’s power-play goal in the third highlighted a three-goal period for Minnesota. Six minutes later, the Big Line was on the move again, when Rolston grabbed a loose puck at along the boards to start a three-on-two. Demitra fed the puck back to him, and Ilya Bryzgalov didn’t stand a chance to get over to make the save. “Jacques changes lines around, and I think it was a great move,” Gaborik said. “It worked well for us. We had a couple of goals there, and we had great chances.” That kind of room in front of Bryzgalov just wasn’t there in the first three games of the series, when the Ducks suffocated Minnesota’s high flyers and forced them to play dump and chase with little effect. “Those are guys that obviously they look at to supply a lot of their offense and when they’re all on one line, we’ve got to shut them down,” Pronger said.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more