ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)—The reeling Detroit Red Wings are mad.
After losing the first three games of the Western Conference series against the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, the defending Stanley Cup champions have gone from being desperate and dangerous—Sergei Fedorov’s earlier description—to a different attitude.
“I think we’re very, very angry. We’re angry that we haven’t scored on all the opportunities we’ve had. We’ll take care of that on Wednesday night,” Fedorov said. “On offense, we’ve generated enough chances to score four or five goals a game. It’s been frustrating. We will find a way to win.”
A Detroit victory in Game 4 in Anaheim would send the best-of-seven series back to the Red Wings’ ice for a game on Saturday.
“The bright side is, we just have to win one game and we can take them back to Detroit,” Fedorov said, adding that the Red Wings will take a “Game 7 mentality” into the fourth game.
Last year, the Red Wings lost their opening two games of the playoffs to Vancouver, but bounced back to win four straight and go on to their third Stanley Cup title in six years.
An Anaheim sweep would turn the tables on the Red Wings, who swept the Ducks out of the playoffs their only two previous times in the postseason. Detroit eliminated Anaheim in four games in the second round in 1997, then knocked them out in four in the first round in 1999.
The upstart Ducks could become the only team in 51 years to sweep a defending Cup champion in the first round—the 1952 Red Wings shocked the champion Toronto Maple Leafs in 1952 and went on to win the title.
Anaheim’s Jean-Sebastien Giguere has been the difference so far, stopping 133 of 137 shots. He had 63 saves in the Ducks’ 2-1 victory in triple overtime in the first game, most ever by a goaltender in his playoff debut.
The Ducks also have played tenacious defense and capitalized on their scoring chances against Detroit goalie Curtis Joseph.
“It’s a little bit surprising where we are,” Anaheim’s Steve Thomas said. “But it’s because of the way we’ve played.”
The Red Wings certainly are surprised.
“I don’t think we ever thought we’d be behind 3-0,” Detroit coach Dave Lewis said.
The Ducks remain wary of the powerful Red Wings.
“One thing about playing this team, there’s no way we’re going to be overly confident,” Anaheim’s Adam Oates said. “We have so much respect for them.”
The underdog Ducks so far are following in the footsteps of their baseball brethren who play just a few blocks up Katella Avenue. The Anaheim Angels stunned the New York Yankees in the opening round of the playoffs last season and went on to win their first World Series in the club’s 42-year history.
“We looked at their winning for the first time in franchise history, and that gave everybody here hope,” the Ducks’ Paul Kariya said. “I think that got us off on the right foot and convinced us we could do it.”
The Ducks and the Angels are owned by the Walt Disney Co., which has both teams up for sale.