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Ducks near Cup championship with 4-2 lead over Ottawa after 40 minutes

The Canadian Press
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Anaheim Ducks Dustin Penner celebrates after teammate Andy McDonald scores the first goal of the game on Ottawa Senators goaltender Ray Emery during first period action in the NHL Stanley Cup hockey finals in Anaheim Wednesday. (CP PHOTO/Paul Chiasson) Author: The Hockey News

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Ducks near Cup championship with 4-2 lead over Ottawa after 40 minutes

The Canadian Press
By:

The Stanley Cup is in the Honda Center and the Ducks hoped to be sipping from it by the game's end. The Senators were trying to send the series back to Ottawa for Game 6 on Saturday night.

First-period goals by Andy McDonald and Rob Niedermayer gave Anaheim a 2-0 lead. Daniel Alfredsson nearly singlehandedly brought Ottawa back into the game with a pair of goals in the second, but the Ducks responded each time to carry a two-goal advantage into the final frame.

Travis Moen was credited with one goal that Chris Phillips mistakenly put into his own net off goalie Ray Emery, and Francois Beauchemin's shot deflected in off an Ottawa stick at 18:28.

That badly deflated the Senators, who were starting to take over the game.

The middle frame began slowly after a more open first 20 minutes with both teams closing the skating lanes and playing a physical game along the boards.

But Alfredsson's goal, his 13th of the playoffs, opened things up. He started the play by jarring the puck loose along the boards and then took a pass from Mike Fisher that was deftly tipped to him by Peter Schaefer in the slot and wired a shot under the bar past Jean-Sebastien Giguere at 11:27.

The Senators then turned the pressure up and Schaefer tipped a Phillips shot off the post.

But the Ducks settled down after Phillips collected the puck behind his own net and sent a clearing pass that hit Emery in the skate and trickled in. Moen was credited with the goal, his sixth of the playoffs.

Alfredsson made it 3-2 with an outstanding short-handed goal at 17:38, cutting in off the right wing and beating Giguere high.

But Beauchemin's power-play blast at 18:28, his fourth goal, of the playoffs put the Ducks back in the driver's seat.

The hero in a 3-2 Game 4 victory when he scored twice and set up the winner, McDonald got the crowd rocking with his 10th of the playoffs at 3:41 of the first and Niedermayer turned up the pandemonium with his fifth at 17:41.

The Ducks were bolstered by the return of defenceman Chris Pronger, who missed Game 4 while serving a one-game suspension for his elbow to Dean McAmmond's head, and Chris Kunitz, back after an abdominal bruise forced him out of the 3-2 win.

The Ducks carried the early play against the nervous-looking Sens, who were hurt by some early undisciplined play.

Defenceman Tom Preissing was called for interference at 1:40 and only a tremendous play by Anton Volchenkov kept Teemu Selanne from putting the puck into an empty net.

Volchenkov, however was called for hooking at 3:25 and the Sens paid for that one.

The Ducks were moving the puck well on the perimeter when it came to McDonald in the right-wing corner. He walked in and his shot deflected off the skate of Phillips and slipped through Emery's legs at 3:41.

Another Ottawa penalty, this time to Jason Spezza for holding the stick at 5:39, was killed off and momentum began to change soon after.

A big hit on Pronger by Antoine Vermette and Chris Neil helped keep things going and Beauchemin made a huge play at the nine-minute mark when he blocked Spezza's shot at an empty net.

Checker Samuel Pahlsson took an elbowing penalty at 10:14 and Ottawa had some great chances but Giguere stood tall.

Things opened after that as the teams traded chances and the Sens had a great opportunity to tie it when Corey Perry took a roughing minor at 15:31.

But again Giguere held down the fort and after the Ducks had killed it, Perry helped clear the puck at the blue-line to spring Niedermayer, who cut in off the wing and put a backhander off Emery and in at 17:41

Selanne took another late penalty but again Ottawa couldn't convert.

The Senators were upset that they went into Game 5 without a morning skate. They asked for 7 a.m. ice time but the Ducks declined, according to Ottawa coach Bryan Murray.

The Ducks had a 9:30 a.m. practice and the Sens could have gone on afterwards, but that would have left insufficient time for his players to properly rest.

Scott and Rob Niedermayer of the Ducks are trying to become the first brothers to win the Stanley Cup together since Brent and Duane Sutter in 1983 with the New York Islanders.

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Ducks near Cup championship with 4-2 lead over Ottawa after 40 minutes