DUCKS ISSUE WARNING.
The series has featured close games, ferocious checking, spectacular goals that counted and controversial goals that didn't.
Now Mighty Ducks coach Ron Wilson sounds as if he's trying to turn up the heat.
``They've been talking about going at Paul (Kariya) and Teemu (Selanne); we are going to go at Keith Tkachuk and Cliff Ronning and Jeremy Roenick. They had better come here with their skates laced up tight,'' Wilson said as the Ducks prepared for tonight's fifth game of their playoff series against the Phoenix Coyotes at the Pond in Anaheim.
The Ducks won the first two at home, then the Coyotes came back to even the series by taking both games in Phoenix, including goalie Nikolai Khabibulin's 2-0 shutout on Tuesday.
So the home-ice advantage is beginning to look critical for the Ducks, who haven't lost at the Pond since Feb. 2, a 16-game span in which they've gone 12-0-4.
Wilson, still bristling a bit at the way an apparent Ducks goal was disallowed in Tuesday's game, also was not happy with what he perceived to be some unnecessary roughness on the Coyotes' part.
He claimed that some of the Ducks have been losing their helmets a little too frequently - with the help of the Coyotes - in action out of the sight of the referee.
``Helmets don't just come off,'' Wilson said Wednesday after practice. ``They come off with a punch to the back of the head. . . . I guess we're going to have to knock a few helmets off when the referee's not looking.''
The Coyotes have been focusing on stopping the Ducks' high-scoring duo of Kariya and Selanne, and essentially have neutralized them since they did all the scoring in the Ducks' 4-2 opening win.
The Ducks, meanwhile, have been concerned with containing Tkachuk, who led the NHL with 52 goals this season and has scored three times in the playoffs.
``We have to play tight on Keith,'' Wilson said. ``If he wants to spend some time in the penalty box, that's great.''
The fourth game produced the sixth disallowed goal in the series, with each team having three apparent scores waved off so far. Steve Rucchin knocked the puck into the net to give the Ducks an apparent 1-0 lead with 8:02 left in the game, but a videotape review showed that Ducks defenseman Brian Bellows had a skate in the crease and the goal was disallowed.
Wilson, had refused to comment on the play after the game.
DUCKS vs. PHOENIX
(Series tied 2-2)
Game 5: Phoenix at Ducks, tonight at 7:30, Fox Sports West/FSW2
Game 6: Ducks at Phoenix, Sun. at noon
Game 7: Phoenix at Ducks, Tues. at 7:30 p.m.x
Box: PHOENIX AT DUCKS (see text)