If the seventh-seeded Detroit Red Wings can find a way to contain the Pacific Division-champion Anaheim Ducks in the third period on Monday, they just might be able to win Game 4 at home and even their Western Conference first-round series at two games apiece.
Detroit has been steamrolled in the final 20 minutes of regulation over the first three contests, allowing eight goals and scoring only one despite outshooting second-seeded Anaheim 29-28.
If not for Gustav Nyquist's heroics in overtime of Game 2, the Red Wings would be facing elimination thanks to the Ducks' third-period outbursts.
The series opener was tied 1-1 heading into the third, when Anaheim scored twice to post a 3-1 victory. Detroit was ahead 4-1 in Game 2 before the Ducks began a run of three unanswered goals at 7:50 of the third to forge a tie before falling in overtime. Anaheim erupted for three tallies again in the final session of Game 3 to expand a 1-0 advantage and take a 2-1 lead in the series.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, CNBC, TSN, RDS, KDOC (Anaheim), FSN (Detroit)
ABOUT THE DUCKS: Defenseman Toni Lydman is questionable for Game 4 after sustaining a hit to the head from Detroit's Justin Abdelkader late in the second period on Saturday. Lydman did not return to the contest and was unable to practice Sunday, leaving his status for Monday up in the air.
"Toni has headaches. He's got a stiff neck and bright lights are bugging him, so I don't know when that's not going to be there," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "So if we're going minute by minute and day by day, (Monday) is very questionable for him."
Defenseman Sheldon Souray is likely to return to the lineup should Lydman sit out. Souray was a healthy scratch on Saturday after committing the penalty that led to Detroit's winning goal in overtime in Game 2.
ABOUT THE RED WINGS: Abdelkader may have played his last game of the season. The left wing received a two-game suspension for his illegal hit to the head of Lydman in Game 3, meaning unless the Red Wings earn at least one victory while he's gone, Abdelkader will have to wait until 2013-14 to return to action. Coach Mike Babcock disagreed with the suspension, feeling Abdelkader did nothing to warrant it.
"I watched the hit again (Sunday) and, holy mackerel, I don't know what you're going to be suspended for," Babcock said. "You turn the video on and pretend there was contact to the head, maybe you can find something."
1. Babcock likely will insert either RW Todd Bertuzzi or RW Jordin Tootoo into the lineup for Abdelkader.
2. Power plays have loomed large in the series as Anaheim (five) and Detroit (four) have combined for nine goals with the man advantage. Only Pittsburgh (six) has scored more power-play tallies this postseason.
3. RW Emerson Etem became the third member of the Ducks to score his first career playoff goal in this series, joining Cs Nick Bonino and Kyle Palmieri.