While Washington Capitals draftee Müller stopped 44 shots, playoff-leading scorer Brad Purdie tallied the only goal of the night on the man advantage 6:44 into the final period.
“Robert Müller was the difference tonight”, Krefeld’s head coach Butch Goring said. “He was nothing less than sensational. If you want to win a playoff game on the road, you need goaltending like that. But our penalty killing also did a great job. The Eisbären played a tremendous hockey game. We played a good game but we have to play better on Sunday, we gave up a lot of scoring opportunities tonight. It’s in our hands now, all we have to do is take care of business at home.”Müller: “Pressure is on Berlin now”
Krefeld sat back and worked the neutral zone trap effectively. Müller’s goaltending had to bail them out a couple of times, though, especially in the waning minutes of the game.
“This team is unbelievable”, Müller stated. “The guys in front of me did a great job. After a couple of problems during the season, the team spirit right now is amazing. We’ve got nothing to lose, the pressure is on Berlin now.”
With 4,695 in attendance at the sold-out Wellblechpalast, Krefeld had the first big scoring opportunity of the game when Christoph Brandner got denied on the doorstep after a feed by Patrik Augusta from behind the net. The rest of the period belonged to Berlin. Müller made two terrific stops to keep the game scoreless, robbing Kelly Fairchild on a one-timer from the right slot and denying a wide-open Rob Shearer on the doorstep with a sprawling save in the waning seconds of the opening period.
In the middle frame, Müller picked it up right where he left, stopping Mark Beaufait on a breakaway. The game went back and forth late in the period. With three minutes to go in the period, Pinguine youngster Jonas Lanier had Eisbären goalie Richard Shulmistra beaten on a shorthanded breakaway, but Fairchild literally scratched the puck off the goal line.
Walker on the other side stopped by Müller With just over a minute to go, Stas out of the penalty box denied on a breakaway. With net wide open, Blank fanned on the rebound of Kellers shot.Purdie scores GWG
Berlin continued to press. But the key play of the game occurred at the other end of the ice, seven minutes into the third period. With the Pinguine skating 4-on-3, Eisbären defender John Gruden fell down in his own end, Darryl Shannon picked up the loose puck at the top of the faceoff circle and passed it to the front of the net where a wide-open Brad Purdie chipped it past Shulmistra for the 1-0 lead. The Eisbären tried to rally, but Müller protected the lead with a couple of great saves.