USA TODAY Sports
After an incredible comeback victory on Wednesday over Chicago, the Anaheim Ducks failed to show the same tenacity when hated rival Detroit rolled into Honda Center.
First Period Recap: The game started really well with all four lines coming out firing. Corey Perry, in his first game back from a four game suspension, comes out charging with Ryan Getzlaf in tow. In what seems to be his favorite move this season, Perry wraps around the back of the net and attempts to hook the puck past Jimmy Howard. The puck sat next to the goaltender. Getzy nearly taps in the rebound before the puck is cleared.
The fourth line of David Steckel, Matt Beleskey and Emerson Etem thought they scored the first goal of the game when the puck settled in front of Howard and a wide open Steckel manages to pop the puck up in the air. The puck hits a charging Etem on the pant leg and then bounces off his heel into the goal. The referee signaled it as a good goal right away but it went to the Situation Room in Toronto for review. The goal was ultimately overturned due to a 'distinct kicking motion' by Etem. It was going to end up being one of those nights where everything just didn't work.
Well, the one thing that did go right for the Ducks is that they scored first. Cam Fowler joined Kyle Palmieri and Teemu Selanne on the rush up ice. As the trio got near Howard, Fowler tied up the stick of Jakob Kindl as Palmieri lasered a pass to Selanne who puts it past Howard. After a very long goal drought, this is the second game in a row Selanne has scored. He's now 15th all-time in scoring with 1,426 points.
After keeping Detroit in their own zone for a while, Justin Abdelkader breaks out and flies up ice. He easily skated to the inside on Sheldon Souray at the goal line and whips the puck through Viktor Fasth's five-hole. We hadn't seen a 'soft' goal from Fasth in a while after he was giving one up almost every game. He was not ready for this easily stoppable goal.
Things started to unravel when Getzlaf took a hooking penalty after making contact with Valtteri Filppula's hands. Henrik Zetterberg fires the puck on net and Fasth makes the initial save but is unable to get to the other side to protect against the rebound that went directly to the worst person it could go to - Pavel Datsyuk. Wide open on the other side, Datsyuk scores his 250th career goal on a shot he's going to make a billion out of a billion times.
The Ducks went on the power play next after Perry draws a slashing call. Nicklas Kronwall is continuously chopping at Perry's hands right in front of the referee. It isn't until Perry's stick breaks, he throws it down and then throws his hands up in disgust, as he gives the stink-eye to the referee. The ref sees the error in his ways and whistles the penalty on Kronwall.
Peter Holland and Palmieri are sent out on the first power play unit and they get couple quality chances before Brendan Smith hooks Fowler and is called on it. The Ducks have a 5-on-3 advantage for 23 seconds. Somehow Anaheim is the second best power play in the league and cannot, for the life of them, score on a two man advantage. The first penalty ends with nothing of consequence happening, even though an open Perry in front of the net was slapping his stick on the ice calling for the pass. The period ends with Detroit leading 2-1.
Second Period Recap: The Ducks start the period with 1:23 left in their power play. Nothing really happens. Getzy and Bobby Ryan get a chance but it's blocked.
After the power play ends, the wheels start to come off the wagon. Abdelkator receives a pass from Johan Franzen and one times it past a falling Fasth. Now 3-1 Detroit and Abdelkader's second of the game. Bruce Boudreau had seen enough at that point. Fasth was pulled and in came Jonas Hiller.
Hiller couldn't depend on his teammates for support. They were sloppy and had little puck control. They melted under the forecheck of the Red Wings.
The Ducks managed to draw another call when Selanne embellishes Joakim Andersson's hook by falling to the ice. Another penalty, another round of 'meh' chances for the Anaheim power play and no goal. The Ducks might have done better if Howard wasn't having a monster night (that's what I get for calling him 'above-average' in my preview).
Things went from bad to worse when Luca Sbisa turns over the puck to - again - the worst person you could turn it over to, Datsyuk. Datsyuk gets the puck up ice and over to Franzen. Franzen connects with Abdelkader again and boom - Abdelkader beats Hiller up top for the hat trick. Now 4-1 Detroit.
As the second period ended, the Ducks of yore began to show themselves. To fire up his teammates, Getzlaf says something to Jonathan Ericsson before ripping the stick out of his hands and goading the defenseman into a fight. Getzy is not a great fighter so it ended up being more of a wrestling match than a fights. Then, as the last seconds tick off the clock, Detroit's Brian Lashoff takes out Selanne. Sticking up for the vet was none other than Tiny Dancer (aka Kyle Palmieri). Palms was very outmatched by Lashoff but he held his own, eventually body slamming Lashoff to the ice.
Third Period Recap: The Ducks were without Palmieri and Getzlaf for the first five plus minutes of the third. The Red Wings controlled the tempo of the rest of the game skating up and down the ice for minutes on end. If the Ducks wanted to get into Detroit's zone they'd have to skate through a red rover-esque wall of white jerseys at the blue line.
This period was a cluster. The Ducks continued to be sloppy. Their passes were wild, leading to multiple turnovers. If it wasn't for Francois Beauchemin, the game would be 63 to 1. (More on him later.) Corey Perry showed a bit of rust as he just seemed to be a second behind of everything. He'll be fine by the next game. Not too worried about him.
Detroit looked like a 'normal' Detroit team from other seasons. They controlled the game. Even their fans controlled the arena by chanting 'HILL-ER' without a counter from Ducks fans (because they were all on the freeway getting the hell outta' Anaheim).
It just wasn't Emerson Etem's night, too. His goal was recalled and then he iced the game for Detroit. Franzen throws the puck on net. Hiller makes the kick save and the rebound hits the back-checker Etem and deflects into the back of the net.
5-1 Detroit was how it would end but not before one more Duck lost their cool. Bobby Ryan takes a run at Brendan Smith and gets the worst of the hit. He begins to chase Smith around the ice for no good reason. Ryan crosschecks Smith and then throws down his gloves. In a move I haven't really seen before, the linesman looked at Bobby and was like 'Are you sure you want to do this?' in an attempt to stop the fight. The linesman must have seen Bobby's previous fights because he's terrible. Bobby goes after Smith, and once again, Bobby gets the worst of the fight he instigated.
Mercifully, the game ended quickly thereafter.
The Good: Francois Beauchemin was the only player on the ice tonight ready to play. He was hitting, shooting, blocking shots. I would like to clone him. I thought Cam played kind of good-ish, too. At times Fowler looked like a fourth forward out there joining the rush.
The Bad: I really don't like losing to Detroit, especially after the Ducks make them look bad on their home ice. Thanks for returning the favor, Red Wings.
The Ugly: The Ducks were talking about not having a 'letdown game' after the emotionally charged win over Chicago. They did not accomplish that goal. I don't even think they were tired. They just played bad.
3rd Icehole: Power play. The chances for the Ducks are few and far between. They got set up a couple times but nothing much of consequence. I still have no idea how they're second in the league.
2nd Icehole: Viktor Fasth. He was having issues controlling rebounds and keeping up with the play. Everyone is going to have an off-night; this was his. I expect Hiller to start on Sunday.
1st Icehole: Luca Sbisa has had a number of shitty games this season and this was one of the shittiest. He was slow and careless with the puck. Datsyuk makes many players look foolish but tonight he made Sbisa look like he couldn't even make a beer league team. A couple weeks ago, Boudreau healthy scratched Luca as a wakeup call. It might be time Bruce redials that phone number.
Next Game: Sunday, March 24 at 5:00pm versus Detroit