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Continued: Wild: A finale most foul

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Last update: April 20, 2007 - 1:48 AM

Everybody in the arena knew who was eventually getting this puck, and Gaborik capitalized with his third goal of the playoffs while shorthanded.

The arena was silent, but not for long. With Teemu Selanne still screaming from the bench because Nick Schultz's clip of his left eye went unnoticed by the referees, Getzlaf gave Anaheim its one-goal lead back by scoring on a backhander before the front end of Boogaard's first minor was over.

"We gave up a shorthanded goal, and those can kill you," Getzlaf said. "But we bounced back the way we wanted to and it just exploded from there."

Boogaard didn't want to comment after the game, but Lemaire defended him, saying, "I thought Boogey did a great job tonight. The four minutes that he got, it was accidental. He was just trying to lift [Huskins'] stick to get the puck. It was an accident."

The Ducks iced it with 9:31 left in the third period when Corey Perry, possibly Anaheim's best player all night, jammed Dustin Penner's rebound underneath Backstrom after Penner drove the net.

It was an appropriate symbol of the night. Perry was allowed to stand unscathed in front of the Wild's net, while Wild players hit the deck anytime they came within breathing interest of Giguere. On that 5-on-3, in particular, Parrish was sent violently to the ice three times by Pronger.

"They just ran out of juice," Lemaire said of the Wild. "At a time there, I could see it was kind of tough. Skating was not good as it could be. Guys were a little tired."

Despite the pregame get-together, tempers didn't boil over at the start of the game because Pronger scored so early. It forced both teams to actually play hockey.

The Wild took six shots in the first period, with the first coming 7:20 into the game on Brent Burns' shot from the red line. Of the Wild's 27 shots in the game, few could be construed as scoring chances. Few came from underneath the top of the circles because the Ducks were near perfect positionally and collapsed down low to protect Giguere.

"Through the neutral zone, their defensemen are up on you before you even get to the blue line, so you have to get it in behind them. It takes a lot of energy."

Lemaire praised Backstrom, who made 35 saves and kept the Wild in the game with several outstanding stops. "He was special tonight," Lemaire said.

The Wild will fly home Friday morning, take a day or so off and then pack up its lockers.

It was a disappointing ending for a team that looked poised to make a playoff run before running into a team that was simply better.

Asked to categorize this season, Lemaire said, "We'll go through a few meetings and talk about it and we'll let you know. I want my head to be fresh."

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