Going into the Game Fours that will happen in the next two teams, it's a do or die situation for one team, and on the verge of one for another.
Let's be honest, the Ducks need to win tonight (Thursday) or else they are golfing. The speculation is that J-S Giguere will be in net starting to maybe give a little jump to the Ducks. The 2003 Conn Smythe winner hasn't been that good in the playoffs, especially without a high mobility rate. Granted, Giguere's hip and knee injury could be a hinderance, but he will need to be on his "A-Game" if he is in net.
Of course, the Oilers are in the driver's seat. Only twice before has a team lost after going up three games to none. However, the letdown that happened in Game Three could have been fatigue from the flu that was going around or it could have been a wake-up by the Ducks. Dwayne Roloson has been spectacular, but the Ducks know he's not invinsible. It's going to be up to Mike Peca and Fernando Pisani to continue to be the shining stars in this series and to help the Oilers move on and get some much needed rest.
It will take a lot to match the Game Three craziness that happened in the last ten minutes of the game, but if the Ducks can somehow win their first game in Rexall Place since 1999, they would go back home and try to somehow spark some little light of hope they have left. The Ducks have nothing else to loss, so why not try to do something amazing.
In the East, the Sabres were able to hold off an onslaught by the Hurricanes late in the third and take game three and a two games to one advantage. However, it came at a cost, as Henrik Tallinder will miss the rest of the playoffs after breaking his arm after a check by Mark Recchi. That means that Tallinder, Teppo Numminen, and Dmitri Kalinin are out of the line-up. Three top defenseman out for the Sabres, on top of Tim Connolly still being out and Adam Mair being sidelined as well. It's going to be a tough go about it, but it should show the resolve of the Sabres if they can pull out another win and put the Canes to the brink.
The Canes will need to take advantage of the injuries, but they also will have to stay out of the penalty box if they don't want to get burned. Five of the Sabres last seven goals have come with the extra man. The Canes will have to be a little more disciplined to beat the Sabres. Also, the question of whether to keep Cam Ward in net seems to be coming up in the distance. Some have suggested that putting Martin Gerber in would make some sense, just for the same of change. It's not that Ward has been bad, far from it, but if a little mixing up could get a win-- it may not be all that bad.
These teams are showing why it was going to be a close series. Every game has been determined by one goal and the trailing team has always made a surge late in the game to get some momentum going into the next game, plus to maybe even win the game in the dying minutes and second.