Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle says Ducks won't change approach for Cup final

The Canadian Press
By: The Canadian Press
May 24, 2007
The Hockey News

Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle says Ducks won't change approach for Cup final

The Canadian Press
By: The Canadian Press
May 24, 2007

The Ducks, coming off a tough six-game Western Conference final victory over Detroit, have relied on a potent mix of offensive power, effective goaltending and stellar defensive play to get this far.

The Senators have looked even more impressive, winning all three of their series by 4-1 margins, but Carlyle says his team will be ready for the Eastern Conference champions when the puck drops Monday night at the Honda Center.

"When you get to this point you know that the opponent that you're facing has achieved quite a bit - as we have," Carlyle said Thursday on a conference call.

"We show a tremendous amount of respect to our opposition. We know that they're a hockey club that people are describing as playing the most consistent brand of hockey at this point. And that's a challenge for us.

"We have to play better than we played in the last series, we know that and we're expected to do that."

The Ducks were outplayed in Game 5 against Detroit but captain Scott Niedermayer scored late in regulation to tie it and Teemu Selanne added the overtime winner in the 2-1 victory. Anaheim started strong in Game 6 before holding off a furious Red Wings' attack in the final period of a 4-3 win.

So, while the Ducks didn't exactly steamroll their way into the Cup final, a win is a win and Carlyle will take it.

"You don't get here by smoke and mirrors," Carlyle said. "You have to earn your opportunity to play in the Stanley Cup finals. The Ottawa Senators have done that and the Anaheim Ducks have done that."

Niedermayer will be appearing in his fifth Cup final and first with Anaheim.

He won three Cups with the New Jersey Devils (1995, 2000, 2003) and is one of the few Ducks with some experience against the Senators.

"I have played some of those guys a fair amount," Niedermayer said. "So I'm somewhat familiar with them as they are probably with me. But then there are some young guys and some guys that have been out west here that haven't played against each other a lot.

"That's just the challenge that both sides have to deal with."

Niedermayer, one of the key cogs on the Anaheim blue-line with Chris Pronger, has nine points (3-6) in the playoffs and is averaging just over 30 minutes of ice time a game.

Carlyle said Niedermayer's greatest asset might be that he creates a calming effect on the ice.

"When things get a little hairy - and they always do at certain times - he has the ability to slow down the tempo or speed up the tempo at the right time," Carlyle said.

Pronger has also come through at both ends of the ice.

He leads Anaheim's well-balanced offensive attack with 14 playoff points (3-11). Three players - Selanne, Andy McDonald and Ryan Getzlaf - share the team lead with five goals apiece. Goaltender J.S. Giguere has been solid in net, posting a 9-3 record and 1.87 goals-against average in 13 appearances.

The Ducks will have their hands full with Ottawa's big line of Dany Heatley, Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson. Heatley leads all players with 21 playoff points, one more than Spezza, and four more than Alfredsson, who has 10 goals.

Carlyle noted the rest of the roster is also quite strong.

"They've got lots of depth on their hockey club," he said. "They've got lots of skill on the back end. I don't think they're what I would describe as a one-line hockey club.

"I think they've got lots of firepower."

The Ducks and Senators did not play in the regular season so both teams will spend plenty of time watching video over the next few days.

Carlyle still expects a great series, despite the lack of familiarity.

"It's two good hockey clubs that are going to meet and it's a seven-game series," he said. "Obviously they've done some things very well and we feel we've done enough to earn our opportunity here.

"It should make for a great final."

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Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle says Ducks won't change approach for Cup final