ANAHEIM, Calif. - After a couple of relatively predictable games to begin their Western Conference finals series, the Anaheim Ducks and Detroit Red Wings have provided surprises in the last two.
Minus star defenseman Chris Pronger, coming off what could have been a deflating loss and then blowing an early lead, the Ducks regrouped to beat the Red Wings, 5-3, Thursday night and evened the series at two games apiece.
Detroit had dominated Game 3, rolling to a 5-0 win. The loss, the Ducks' worst in a playoff game, was particularly startling since they have been tough on their home ice.
With each team managing a split in the other's rink through the first four games, the series shifts back to Joe Louis Arena for Game 5 tomorrow afternoon. The players on both sides don't expect things to get any easier - or necessarily more predictable.
"As soon as the puck drops for the next game, you're back to square one," Anaheim's Sean O'Donnell said. "But we feel like we can score on anyone, and we hope that continues."
Detroit goalie Dominik Hasek, who gave up four goals on 22 shots in the Ducks' Game 4 win on Thursday, said the Red Wings obviously needed to step it up.
"I like our chances, but we need to be a more desperate team, do better on the power play and the penalty kill and pay attention to the smallest details," Hasek said.
Teammate Chris Chelios said, "We've got to be better and be ready for the next game."
Pronger, a finalist for his second Norris Trophy and the Ducks' leader with 12 points in the postseason, will be back for the fifth game after serving a one-game suspension for hitting Tomas Holmstrom in the head in Game 3.