May provides playoff savvy

Times Staff Writer

The Ducks made a trade-deadline deal with Colorado for Brad May because they wanted his gritty play and playoff experience. But when the veteran forward was given a three-game suspension for punching out Minnesota defenseman Kim Johnsson in the first round, it wasn't clear that the Ducks would be able to benefit from May's postseason savvy.

But since returning in Game 3 of the Ducks' best-of-seven series against Vancouver, May has been a hard-hitting force. Although he did not score a goal in the series, May showed his value as he was on the ice for Scott Niedermeyer's winning goal in the Ducks' 2-1 overtime victory Thursday night at Honda Center.

"He never complained about his ice time or anything like that," Ducks goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere said. "He just is happy whenever he gets his chance to go out and show what he can do. He knows what it takes to win."

May, whose nickname is "Mayday," has a website highlighted by a gallery of photo flashes -- with the words "Smashes," "Crashes" and "Hits" -- that show him punching and hitting. May has played nearly 900 NHL games, amassing more than 2,000 penalty minutes.

"He's a warrior type player who can play up and down," Coach Randy Carlyle said. "You can put him on your first line. You can put him on your second line, your third line and your fourth line. He can play anywhere. He's an interchangeable part."

That was definitely true in Game 4 when Carlyle moved May around to take advantage of his fore-checking skills. May started off on the fourth line with Shawn Thornton and Ryan Shannon but later teamed with Samuel Pahlsson to set up Chris Pronger's third-period goal to spark the Ducks' come-from-behind 3-2 overtime victory.

"He fits into our style," Carlyle said. "We expect to be aggressive on our forecheck, and he can be physical. We ask him to not be a liability defensively and he's delivered for us."

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When center Todd Marchant had sports hernia surgery on April 6, the original timetable had him possibly returning in the conference finals or the Stanley Cup finals, if the Ducks advanced that far.

Marchant didn't play in Game 5 Thursday night, but he could soon be back in the lineup after being out for nearly four weeks instead of the expected six to eight weeks.

"Every day I feel that much better," Marchant said. "Who knows? I can only tell them how I feel and let them help make the decision for me."

lonnie.white@latimes.com

eric.stephens@latimes.com

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