Pressure mounting for the Ducks

Perhaps now it’s the Anaheim Ducks’ turn to grip their sticks a little bit tighter.

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Perhaps now it’s the Anaheim Ducks’ turn to grip their sticks a little bit tighter.

The Ducks missed their first opportunity to complete a remarkable playoff upset in Game 5, losing 3-2 in overtime to the top-seeded San Jose Sharks.

Anaheim now has its best chance in Game 6 Monday night in front of a supportive home crowd eager to witness the Ducks becoming the eighth No. 8 seed to win a playoff series since 1994.

Although coach Randy Carlyle might disagree, Anaheim hasn’t faced much external pressure in the all-California series up to this point.

Although the Ducks had more talent and a better playoff pedigree than several teams above them in the Western Conference standings, they were heavy underdogs to the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Sharks before winning three of the first four.

With the spotlight trained squarely on the home bench in Game 6, it’s tough to predict how the Ducks will respond.

They haven’t been consistent winners all season long, leading to their low seeding, but the veteran core led by defencemen Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger has been in tougher situations.

“I think everybody in this room realizes that this is part of the process,” said Ducks rookie forward Bobby Ryan, who missed about 10 minutes of the third period of Game 5 while getting his skate fixed — not because of an injury.

“You dwell on (Game 5) for two hours, but then you put it behind you. That’s the beauty of the playoffs. When you’re in the lead, you’re going to get another shot to end it two days later.”

But the Sharks also have a shot to force Game 7 on Wednesday back in San Jose and, after four mostly tepid outings, the regular-season NHL leaders finally seem to be heating up a bit.

They gave their most comprehensive effort of the series in their first elimination game, getting goals from all three forwards on their top line: Patrick Marleau, Devin Setoguchi and Joe Thornton, who had a goal and two assists while playing with a noticeable bad temper for the first time in the series.

San Jose also got a boost from a new line of Jeremy Roenick, Jonathan Cheechoo and Torrey Mitchell, who skipped Sunday’s practice to rest up for Game 6.

Even goalie Evgeni Nabokov looked solid for the Sharks after a less-than-impressive series, although both goals he surrendered appeared stoppable. Nabokov hasn’t been nearly as impressive as Jonas Hiller, the Swiss goalie who stopped 45 shots in Game 5 for his latest gaudy stat line.

Just Posted

Updated: Red Deer welcomes 2019 Canada Winter Games Team Alberta

About 250 Alberta athletes are participating in the Games

Syrian immigrants feel welcomed

Winter Social held at Festival Hall to promote multiculturalism

Small group rallies with pro-immigration message

Group wanted to counter misinformation on United Nations migration agreement

Trump says ‘things are going very well’ with North Korea

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Saturday that “things are going very… Continue reading

NDP won’t stop until Trans Mountain is built, says minister

Deron Bilous speaks at Red Deer chamber luncheon

VIDEO: Students in MAGA hats mock Native American at Indigenous Peoples March

Diocese in Kentucky says it is investigating the matter, caught on video by onlookers

CONSUMER REPORT: What to buy each month in 2019 to save money

Resolve to buy all of the things you want and need, but pay less money for them

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Kriechmayr edges Swiss favourite Feuz to win WCup downhill

WENGEN, Switzerland — It takes a special run to beat Switzerland’s best… Continue reading

WestJet plane heading to Victoria slides off Edmonton runway, no injuries

EDMONTON — A WestJet plane has slid off an icy taxiway at… Continue reading

Sam Bennett scores twice, Flames beat Red Wings 6-4

Flames 6, Red Wings 4 CALGARY — Sam Bennett scored twice including… Continue reading

Rare ‘super blood wolf moon’ takes to the skies this Sunday

Celestial event happens only three times this century

Most Read