OTTAWA — A disputed goal. An elbow. An alarming lack of composure.
Each of these three things led from one to the other for the Ducks in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals Saturday night, and they altogether stirred up the slumbering Ottawa Senators.
Hosting their first Stanley Cup game in 80 years, the Senators rose to the occasion by rallying from three separate deficits to jump back into the series with a 5-3 victory in front of a frenzied sellout crowd of 20,500 at Scotiabank Place.
The Ducks still hold a 2-1 series lead entering Game 4 here Monday night. But they now know they have an Ottawa team that fed off its vocal following and finally realized they could stop waiting for their top line to awaken.
Daniel Alfredsson's first goal of the series went off his skate, Dean McAmmond broke a 3-3 tie late in the second period and Anton Volchenkov added an insurance goal in the third. The Senators also got goals from grinders Chris Neil and Mike Fisher.
Now the Ducks know they aren't dealing with a one-line team.
"This is the finals," Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf said. "They got here for a reason. They didn't get here riding one line. They got a whole team over there, the same way we do.
"If it's not one line, it's going to be another and we've just got to focus on what we've got to do for Game 4."
Andy McDonald put in an early power-play goal and Corey Perry and Getzlaf also scored on the Senators' Ray Emery, who appeared to be as shaky as he was in Game 1.
But Neil, a fourth-line grinder, put in a goal off Ducks defenseman Ric Jackman and Fisher, a second-line checker, scored off a deflection of Volchenkov's shot from the point. And then the game -- and the Senators hope the series -- turned late in the second period.
Wade Redden took a shot that deflected off the stick of the Ducks' Scott Niedermayer and caromed toward a crashing Alfredsson, who was tied up with Getzlaf as he crashed the net. Alfredsson appeared to turn his left foot to direct the puck in the net past Jean-Sebastien Giguere.
Referee Dan O'Halloran immediately waved off the goal, but the play was automatically reviewed and ultimately reversed by NHL director of hockey operations Colin Campbell.
"What we ruled here, and it was discussed long and hard, was we didn't think it was a distinct kicking motion," said league official Mike Murphy, who works under Campbell. "We felt Alfredsson directed it in. The puck hits his skate and starts to head toward the net and then there's movement [of his skate] toward the net."
It was the 11th goal of the playoffs for the Ottawa captain.
"I felt it was a goal all along," Alfredsson said. "I think from the ref's position, he thought it went off my skate. I don't think it was kicked."
The Ducks, naturally, disagreed with the ruling.
"Obviously we felt that there was a kicking motion from our point of view, but I haven't really reviewed the replay from a bunch of different angles," Coach Randy Carlyle said. "But that's the way it is. They make the call and you have to live with it."
The Ducks compounded things by allowing their lack of discipline to resurface.
Chris Pronger was the guilty party in the third period when he appeared to hit McAmmond flush with his left elbow while in the defensive zone. McAmmond was motionless in the right corner for several minutes before being helped off the ice.
Pronger was not penalized on the play, but he may face discipline similar to what occurred in the Western Conference finals when he was suspended for Game 4 because of a high hit on Detroit's Tomas Holmstrom.
That play also didn't draw a penalty, but as Pronger well knows, that hasn't stopped the league from levying a harsher sentence.
"I didn't see the hit," Carlyle said. "So I can't make any comments on the hit. I'm sorry. If I would have reviewed it ..."
McAmmond, who was conscious the entire time he was on the ice, did not return to the game because of a head injury.
"It's not what needs to happen," Senators Coach Bryan Murray said. "It was an elbow to the head. He was out.
"I can't for the life of me understand how it was missed by four officials."
The Ducks dissolved after that, with penalties ruining any chances for a comeback.
"We made a lot of mistakes for sure," Niedermayer said.