First Period Recap: Based on the first five seconds of the game, it looked like it was going to be a very, very long night. As soon as Saku Koivu won the face-off, the Ducks went for a change. Gustav Nyquist took advantage of the sloppy change and took the puck into the Ducks zone. Luckily Ben Lovejoy gets back in time to block Nyquist's shot on Jonas Hiller.
It continued to be all Red Wings for a good part of the first period. What seems to be the story of the series, the Ducks just couldn't keep Detroit out of their zone, nor could they keep the puck in the Red Wings zone if they managed to get it out. When Anaheim did control the puck in Detroit's end the Red Wings collapsed around Jimmy Howard protecting him from ... no one! The Ducks just wouldn't go to the front of the net and plant themselves there for any extended period of time.
Nearly six minutes in, the Ducks commit the first penalty of the game. Ryan Getzlaf tripped up Mikael Samuelsson in the neutral zone. Someone should study the Red Wings and how they're able to win any games. They simply fall down so easily. (Sarcasm font needed).
Johan Franzen had his giant ass in front of Hiller all night and Anaheim did nothing to get him out of the way. Throughout the entire penalty kill, Hiller was on his toes looking over or around Franzen. Somehow Hiller manages to stop what felt like a million shots on the successful penalty kill. It looked like the Ducks would be going right back on the PK when Lovejoy tries to send the puck around the glass and it goes into the stands. No surprise, the Red Wings and their fans wanted a delay of game penalty. The officials caucused and decided the puck touched the glass - no penalty.
Anaheim's best scoring chances were coming from the third and fourth lines. Lovejoy - who had another really strong game - intercepts a Detroit pass and sends a stretch pass up to to Andrew Cogliano. Cogs looked like he was wearing Acme rocket skates as he pulled away from the Red Wings. He rips off a quick wrist shot and it goes just wide.
As for the first line, Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan couldn't connect. Perry was always being shadowed and I'm not really sure what Bobby was doing. He skated aimlessly a lot and he'd commit to taking a run at a player, completely abandoning the play. All of this was happening at the worst time because Pavel Datsyuk was on the ice. Datsyuk fakes around Getzlaf and Francois Beauchemin and sends a backhand through the legs of Sheldon Souray and into the net. Detroit draws first blood with less than a minute to go.
Right before the final whistle, Daniel Winnik bounces the puck off Joakin Andersson and on net. Howard is forced to make a leg save. Collecting his own rebound, Winnik sends his shot up over Howard. The period ends with Detroit leading 1-0.
Second Period Recap: Koivu loses the opening face-off to Andersson but the puck makes its way to Cogliano. Cogs passes to Koivu who is in alone with Howard. Howard comes out to challenge and Saku's shot hits the Detroit goalie in the chest.
The Red Wings nearly go up by another goal when Ryan allows Henrik Zetterberg to out-skate him, throw on the breaks and spin around in order to pass infront of Hiller to an onrushing Justin Abdelkader (back from suspension), who over-skates the pass.
Emerson Etem intercepts the puck in the neutral zone and out-skates the Detroit defense. He's joined in the Red Wings' zone with a flying Teemu Selanne. Etem gets right on net and passes across the crease to Selanne for what looked like a guaranteed goal. Howard, sprawled out on his tummy, makes a miraculous leg/ankle/foot save as Selanne tried to elevate the puck into the goal.
Following the near miss, the Ducks controlled a majority of the offensive zone time but they were gambling when they did. The defensemen were pinching, leading to a couple two-on-one opportunities for Detroit.
As I said earlier, the third and fourth lines for Anaheim were the only ones with good scoring chances through this point in the game. The fourth line, as it's been doing lately, was group to get the Ducks on the score sheet. Etem (who else?!) sends a pass to an all alone Kyle Palmieri streaking into the Detroit zone. Tiny Dancer's laser of a shot ricocheted off the post, hits Detroit defenseman Ben Smith in the midsection and deflects into a wide open goal. A little bit of puck-luck ties the game at 1-1. This is Palmieri's third goal of the playoffs, tying him with Getzlaf and Nick Bonino for most goals on the team.
Detroit's two most dangerous players - Datsyuk and Zetterberg - nearly put the Red Wings in the lead again when Datsyuk skates around Selanne (who is trying to hook Pavel) and right up on goal, flinging a backhand just barely wide of Hiller. Not too long after the shot, the Ducks allow Zetterberg float around the goal line alone and he sends an shot off the post. The puck deflects directly to Abdelkader and his shot is clumsily swatted away by Hiller. The Ducks escape the second tied with Detroit.
Third Period Recap: To open the period, Jonas Hiller makes a Jonathan Quick-esque gaffe behind the net. With only a Red Wing in front of him, Hiller sends a blind backwards pass directly to another Red Wing at the side boards. Hiller just barely squeaks back in net as a shot is sent on goal.
Luca Sbisa takes a shot at the point and it's blocked by Todd Bertuzzi. Bertuzzi has a clear lane for a breakaway and he's blatantly tripped by Sbisa. Somehow, there was no call. Considering the other shenanigans happening since the Getzlaf penalty in the first period, I figured the refs were just going to let them play. More on that later.
Anaheim continues their pressure from the second period into the third. Cogliano, all over the place tonight, pressures the Red Wings and gets the puck over to Koivu. Saku quickly passes a charging Winnik in the middle of the ice. The pass was perfect but Winnik managed to miss the wide open net, sending the puck up and over the goal.
When play started again, the third line for the Ducks continued to pressure on the forecheck. From the corner boards, Winnik passes to Cogliano who sends the puck to Lovejoy at the blue line. Reverend Lovejoy intentionally shoots the puck wide for a rebound off the lively boards behind Jimmy Howard. His plan works and the puck pops back into play, in front of Winnik. Winnik whiffs on the shot as Koivu circles behind the net and intercepts the puck. He can't gain full control and the puck barely misses going in.
Remember how I said I thought the refs were going to let them play? Well, no surprise here, they didn't. Tiny Dancer (Palmieri) is whistled for high sticking after retaliating on Smith for a hit. The Ducks weren't on the penalty kill for very long. 40-ish seconds later, Zetterberg takes a shot from the point and scores. Franzen - again - screens Hiller and the puck goes in between the goalie's arm and post. Detroit back in the lead 2-1.
Detroit nearly scores on themselves again when Carlo Colaiacovo turns the puck over to Corey Perry. Perry skates in to the offensive zone and slows down to buy time for Cogliano to join him. Perry attempts to make the pass to Cogs but Colaiacovo intercepts the pass and manages to deflect the puck right on net, forcing Howard to make a quick save.
On the next play, Cogliano is sent to the box for tripping Datsyuk. It's amazing Datsyuk is able to play hockey with how easily he falls over. (Sarcasm font). Note this is the third and final power play for Detroit. The Ducks received no calls. Say whaa? No power plays while in Detroit?! Shock me, shock me.
Anaheim gets the first scoring chance on their penalty kill. Shorthanded, Bryan Allen and David Steckel move the puck into Detroit's zone. Allen sends a hard shot on net and Steckel attempted to retrieve the rebound and put it on net but he whiffs.
The local broadcast showed Getzlaf chirping Zetterberg and Bertuzzi from the bench. Bertuzzi says something that gets Getzlaf mad and he slams his glove against the glass. The best part is that in the little space between the two benches is Brian Engblom for NBCSN. He's in the tiniest glass case of emotion I've ever seen. It made me laugh. I didn't see the national broadcast, so I don't know what Engblom heard Getz and Bertuzzi say to each other. A little later the cameras show Perry sitting in the spot where Getzlaf was and he had a smirk on his face as Bertuzzi continued to chirp.
Anaheim killed the power play but weren't out of the woods. Jakob Kindl shoots from the blue line, the puck hits Hiller in the legs as he drops to his knees. He has no idea where the puck is and reaches behind to block the five hole. The puck was underneath him and the Ducks had an additional safety net with Lovejoy putting himself in net and behind Hiller.
Later the Ducks weren't so lucky. Dan Cleary, like usual, had himself parked in front of the net. Around him were Getzlaf and Lovejoy but they did nothing to try to move Cleary. Up high, the Decepticon Abdelkader shoots on net and Cleary, still screening Hiller, deflects the puck in the net. Detroit now up 3-1.
Clearly frustrated, Beauchemin lands a massive, legal hit on Cleary near the benches. Beauch and Bonino try to get back on the bench when Cleary, who also attempts to slew-foot Beauch, and Nyquist starts hitting people on the Ducks bench. The worst of it was received by Cogliano who was just minding his own business. Cleary's stick gets up on the dasher, and from the bench, Corey Perry, being Corey Perry, grabs the stick and yanks Cleary towards him. All the while Bonino is facewashing Nyquist. I didn't mention the referee is watching all of this and finally decides to break it up as Getzlaf howls for a penalty.
I'll admit it, I figured the Ducks were spiraling downward at this point. In four minutes, they were outshot by Detroit 17-5. The Big Line couldn't produce anything. Bobby kept going for the pretty play (leading to a turnover) instead of just getting the puck in the zone. Yet, all the sudden things started to change. The Ducks transformed into a desperate team.
Anaheim was firing shots on Howard and each time Detroit tried to clear, Getzlaf kept the puck in the zone. On one instance, Getz keeps the puck in and sends it right to Cam Fowler. Fowler throws the puck in the direction of the goal. The puck bounces off Etem's leg right to Valtteri Filppula. Filppula does a gloriously boneheaded thing by giving a blind reverse pass to no one behind the goal. Etem grabs the loose puck and taps it in past Howard. Ducks now down by a goal with just under 3:30 to play.
Somehow the referee didn't make a call when Perry obviously trips Kyle Quincey behind the Red Wings' net, despite staring at the infraction as it unfolded. Because of the lack of call, Quincey loses the puck and it makes its way to a pinching Beauchemin. Beauch gets the puck back to Perry on the near side and in-turn Perry passes across the crease, right to Bobby Ryan on the far aside. BR easily scores to tie the game. Two goals for the Ducks only 0:51 seconds apart and Mike Babcock quickly calls a time out. By the way, never fails - I spend the game cursing Bobby Ryan's play and he ends up scoring a humongous big goal.
Zetterberg got off the final shot of the period and it nearly was the game-winning one. Getzlaf's pass to Etem is intercepted by Zetterberg who'd been lurking around the blue line. His fast shot hits the post and then sends the puck back through the crease, just skirting the goal line. Hiller was completely beat.
We're going to overtime.
Overtime Recap: Stop me if you've heard this one before. The Red Wings come out of the intermission with massive pressure on the Ducks in the first minute. Hiller's teammates in front of him are practically cardboard cutouts and he has to make some strong saves to keep them in it. When Anaheim does finally get the puck, all they can do is ice it to clear the zone. The players needed to change but couldn't because they iced, so Bruce Boudreau uses his timeout.
Six seconds after the time out, the game ended. Datsyuk beats Koivu on the draw. The puck gets to Zetterberg who shoots from the point. Hiller is not only screened by Cleary (of course), he's also screened by Fowler and Lovejoy. It looked like Fowler attempted to block the shot but instead it deflected into his own goal. Doesn't matter how it went in, it went in and the game was over.
Detroit forces a Game 7 after another miraculous comeback by the Ducks in the final minutes. Gulp.
The Good: I am head over heels for the play of Emerson Etem. I wish he'd get time up with Getzlaf AND Perry (not as separate entities). His energy and forecheck are desperately needed on the top line. Matt Beleskey is good at the physical play but think of how much more opportunities Getz and Pears would get just by having Etem's speed, tenacity and ACCURACY with the puck along side them.
The Bad: After a second game with an amazing comeback and a nearly instant loss in OT, I feel like someone punched me in the stomach. Momentum was their friend and then overtime happened. Now the Ducks have to fight for their lives back home on Sunday when they should have ended things tonight.
The Ugly: It's fantastic the Ducks can come back to tie the game up in the final minutes but man are they a buzzkill when they don't actually win the game.
2nd Icehole: Sheldon Souray. No mind-blowingly awful penalty but he's become such a non-factor because he's scared to make a mistake. What's good about a defenseman with a cannon of a shot if he's not going to use it.
1st Icehole: Penalty Kill. The PK seemed to have really improved and then they go 1-for-3. Not sure what stings worse - how iffy the penalties that were called on them were or how they Ducks received zero power play time themselves.
Next Game: Sunday, May 12 at 7:00 PM PST in Anaheim. IT'S GAME 7! (And Mother's Day!)