The Detroit Red Wings let one get away with them during Game 5 against the Anaheim Ducks. They couldn’t afford to do it again at home for Game 6 on Friday night, because the series, and their season would have been over.
Despite that urgency, they almost blew it anyway, allowing two goals in 51 seconds in the third period to allow a 3-1 lead to evaporate. For the fourth time in the series, the game went to overtime, and for the third time, the Red Wings pulled it out. Henrik Zetterberg‘s second goal of the game won it just 1:04 into the extra frame, and the teams will meet in Anaheim for Game 7 on Sunday.
Pavel Datsyuk and Kyle Palmieri scored the goals that had the contest knotted 1-1 headed into the third period. Zetterberg untied it with his first tally of the series at 6:19, a power play goal that came with Anaheim goalie Jonas Hiller screened by Johan Franzen.
Shortly after the Ducks killed off another penalty, the Red Wings struck again in somewhat surprising fashion. After Valtteri Filppula sent a puck through the Anaheim crease, Justin Abdelkader spun along the boards and fired a shot that took advantage of a Dan Cleary screen (and may have hit him) to put the home team up 3-1.
That gave Detroit only 9:30 to protect a two-goal lead, but it disintegrated in less than a minute. First a bad backwards pass by Filppula behind his own net was scooped up and jammed in by a waiting Emerson Etem. Then 51 seconds later, another turnover – aided by what appeared to be a blatant trip on Kyle Quincey – ended with the puck on the stick of Bobby Ryan to net his second goal of the series from close range.
Zetterberg had a chance to end it in regulation when he stole a puck in the Anaheim end and put a shot off the post. He made no mistake on his next shot, the first real one of overtime, when he took a short pass from Niklas Kronwall and blasted a long slap shot by Hiller.
Jimmy Howard also came up big with 34 saves as the Ducks outshot the Red Wings 37-29. The Red Wings were 1-for-3 with the man advantage and didn’t have to send out their penalty killers at all, as the officials seemed content to let the players play unless the infractions were too obvious not to call.
Now it seems only fitting that a series as closely contested as this one will go to a Game 7. The time and network will be determined as the Red Wings travel West again, trying to advance to the second round.
The game was over when…
Zetterberg refused to let his team lose. The team needed its captain to lead by example in its hour of need, and he certainly did that. Kudos also to the screeners on the goals, something that will need to continue on Sunday.
The unsung Red Wings hero was…
Let’s make it heroes, plural, for this one. The kid line of Gustav Nyquist, Joakim Andersson and Damien Brunner didn’t score any goals, but Mike Babcock gave them plenty of ice time, including starting the first two periods on the ice against Anaheim’s top unit. They didn’t disappoint, as they were lively and dangerous for nearly the whole game.