Pahlsson's stutter step sinks Sens

CHRIS STEVENSON

, Last Updated: 11:53 PM ET

ANAHEIM — Hands up everybody who knew Samuel Pahlsson was this good a two-way player before the Stanley Cup final.

“Playing out here on the West Coast, he doesn’t get the credit,” said Anaheim defenceman Chris Pronger of the centre, who potted the winner last night in the Ducks’ 1-0 victory in Game 2 for a 2-0 lead in the Stanley Cup final.

The Ducks have got the Senators in a huge hole now. Of the 30 home teams who have won the first two games of a best-of-seven final since 1939, 29 have gone on to win the series. The only exception was the Chicago Blackhawks in 1971, who wound up losing to the Montreal Canadiens.

Pahlsson is a big reason why the Senators are in this hole. His reputation as a defensive stalwart was confirmed this year with his nomination for the Selke Trophy, given to the league’s top defensive forward.

But what has emerged over these playoffs, and especially in the first two games of the final, is he can be good at both ends of the rink, especially at the time of year when it matters most.

“I’ve played with a lot of great defensive forwards, but he's the best I’ve played with,” said Pronger. “He’s solid on his feet, he'as got a great shot and he’s got that great stutter step that you saw tonight.”

Pahlsson scored the winner on a spectacular play with just over six minutes left in the third period, scooping up a turnover in the neutral zone, breaking over the Ottawa line and using that stutter step before driving a shot through the legs of Ottawa defenceman Joe Corvo, beating Ottawa goaltender Ray Emery to the stick side.

“It’s fun to score the goal, but the most important thing is to win the game,” said Pahlsson. “It’s always about winning in the playoffs, no matter who does it.”

The line of Pahlsson, Rob Niedermayer and Travis Moen has now scored the winners in both games against the Senators big line of Dany Heatley, Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson while keeping them off the scoresheet.

“The biggest thing for us right now is we’re getting really good back pressure and not giving them too many odd-man rushes. That enables our D‚ to stand up and not give them the line too much,” said Rob Niedermayer. If you give that line the blue line they are going to make some pretty skilled plays out there. That's been a big key for us.”

chris.stevenson@sunmedia.ca


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