First Period Recap: I don't believe any Ducks fan would be surprised if the team came out sluggish on Saturday night, considering the super-duper high and massive crashing back to earth - emotion wise - experienced on Thursday. Whatever happened in the 48 hours following worked well for the Ducks because they came out with more tenacity and speed.
The Ducks and Red Wings spent a majority of the time in the period going back and forth with each team, at first, choosing to shoot from around the face off dots. Shots like those were easy for Jonas Hiller and Jimmy Howard to stop. Following each whistle, it wasn't difficult to determine the 'I really hate you' quotient had substantially increased from the previous game. The Red Wings targeted Corey Perry by getting all up in his biz-ness once play stopped. Perry remained composed, at least when the refs were looking he was.
Drawing back into the lineup was Luca Sbisa in place of Sheldon Souray. Souray was the goat of Game 2 and I believe Bruce was trying to send the veteran a message. Sbisa had his brainfarts at times but played a relatively solid game. He and Ryan Getzlaf were bringing the physicality and hitting anything that moved.
The first real threat of Ducks scoring chance came via a turnover. Bobby Ryan, playing on a line with Nick Bonino and Teemu Selanne, passes the puck to Bonino, and Bones whiffs when attempting to puck handle. The errant puck came towards Francois Beauchemin at the blueline and he turns the wrong way on the ice (not an ambi-turner?) to grab the puck. John Franzen is on the opposite side of Beauch, the side with the puck, and he's off on a breakaway. Hiller is patient with Franzen and allows him to make the first move. The Red Wing ends up putting the puck on net but it deflects up and over Hiller.
Detroit's Mikael Samuelsson, in his first game of the series, interferes with Selanne, sending the Flash down to the ice and the referee's arm up. Right after the whistle sounded, Samuelsson gets his money's worth by giving Bonino a hearty slash. The normally composed Bonino took exception and gives Samuelsson a couple shoves. Instead of being on the power play, the Ducks and Red Wings are playing 4-on-4 with Bonino off for roughing.
With 1:20 remaining in the 4-on-4 Joakim Kindl cross-checks Andrew Cogliano in front of the Red Wing's net. The Ducks think they're going to get a power play out of it but then they remember they're in
the portal to hell Joe Louis Arena. As Cogs was being cross-checked, to his left in the crease Saku Koivu clips one of the Detroit players. Detroit now goes on the 4-on-3 power play.
With 0:03 seconds remaining on Detroit's power play, Beauchemin gets the puck and in an attempt to send the puck along the glass to Getzlaf up in the neutral zone. Beauch, who looked incredibly unsteady this game, lifts the puck a foot over the glass and now the Ducks are down 5-on-3. Even worse, Beauch's penalty can't start until Bonino's penalty is over. I thought all was lost because the iffy Ducks penalty kill had been shaky all series and they were going to be down 5-on-3 for 0:40 seconds.
Boudreau sends out Daniel Winnik (played much better in Game 3), Bryan Allen and Luca Sbisa on the PK. In a way, the Ducks PK gets lucky because Detroit spends a whole bunch of time passing the puck a billion times. When they did finally decide to shoot, Hiller covered the puck easily.
Ryan Getzlaf is sent out to help kill the remaining 0:16 seconds of the two-man disadvantage. He loses the face-off and the puck gets to the always dangerous Henrik Zetterberg. Z-Berg sends the puck to rookie Damien Brunner and he whiffs on the shot as Koivu's penalty ends. The Ducks aren't out of the woods yet, they've still got Beauchemin in the box for another 1:20.
Detroit gets their chances, including one Hiller stopped with his head (really wish he'd stop doing that) but Anaheim manages to kill the final penalty. It couldn't come at a better time. The penalty killers looked near dead.
Cam Fowler played out of his mind again tonight. He had a few oopsies but for the most part, he was solid. As he's been doing a lot lately, Fowler joined in on the offensive rush, this time with Corey Perry and Kyle Palmieri. Perry drop passes the puck to Palms. He easily skates around the defense and fires off one of his lethal snap shots. Howard barely gets his glove on it to deflect the puck upwards.
I liked where things were headed until Selanne trips Franzen as he rushed through the neutral zone. Anaheim goes back on the penalty kill just barely over a minute after successfully killing off what seemed to be the longest power play in the world. The Ducks penalty kill seemed to have a renewed confidence this time around. They pressured the Red Wings like crazy and forced them to slow down the pace of the game. Another successful PK.
The refs couldn't ignore the blatant penalty committed by Patrick Eaves. Fowler leads the rush - again - and as he enters the Detroit zone, he is hooked by Eaves to the point where C4 spins around. Finally the Ducks get and stay on the power play for a full two minutes, well, almost a full two minutes. 0:37 seconds left on the Eaves penalty, Andersson takes a light tap to Selanne's hands. It was a menial call but I'll take a 5-on-3 without complaint.
The best chance with the two-man advantage came after Fowler keeps the puck in the zone at the point. The puck makes its way to Getzlaf and he sends it to a wide open Selanne stationed 'in his office'. Somehow Selanne misses and the Eaves is out of the box.
On the remaining 1:21 of power play time, Anaheim almost scored on a Beauchemin rebound off Howard. Beauch rockets the puck on Howard, the rebound bounces to David Steckel in front of a wide open net and Steckel can't tap it in and Howard covers. The period ends 0-0 with 0:02 seconds left on the power play.
Second Period Recap:
The second half was much like the first with both teams trading chances on turnovers. Hiller and Howard were the main reasons the score continued to be 0-0 well into the second.
I am going to skip the minor plays and get to the big controversy of the game.
Under five minutes left in the third, Decepticon Justin Abdelkader takes seven strides in from center ice to in order to lay a nasty hit on Toni Lydman near the boards. Abdelkader leaves his feet and makes contact with Lydman's head, leaving the Ducks defenseman on all fours on the ice. For the hit, Abdelkader was given a five minute major for charging and a game misconduct that comes with an early exit from the game. Lydman was helped off the ice by the trainer and went straight to the locker room. He did not return and is being 'evaluated' (i.e. concussion watch).
You can make your own decision as if it was a legal or illegal hit. Watching the Red Wings press conference after the game, Mike Babcock thought it was a 'hockey play' with body contact and his player stayed grounded (picture above this recap says otherwise). Sound familiar? Former Babcock assistant coach, now head coach of the Ottawa Senators used the same language when describing Eric Gryba's hit on Montreal's Lars Eller. Anyway, if Abdelkader does face a hearing with Player Safety, I can't see more than a one game suspension coming to the Decepticon.
It didn't take long for the Ducks to respond to the scary hit taken by their fallen teammate. A mere 0:18 seconds into the power play, Getzlaf gets the puck to Perry who fires on net. Who else but Nick Friggin' Bonino backhands the puck past Howard, it's 1-0.
After the goal, I thought to myself, power play is clicking, lets milk this five minute major and score a bunch more. Yeah, things didn't go exactly as planned. The Ducks had one or two shots on Howard but they allowed about four short handed opportunities. If it weren't for Hiller the Red Wings could have easily taken the lead.
The period ended with the Ducks still in front, thank goodness, 1-0.
Third Period Recap:
The first few minutes of the third saw the return of the Ducks who have the lead but play not to lose. They weren't attacking the puck or being physical anymore, allowing the Red Wings to get set up several times in the Anaheim zone. When the Ducks managed to clear, they usually iced the puck. It was ugly. Even worse, on 3-on-2, Valtteri Filppula sent a cruise missile directly into the head of Jonas Hiller. I reiterate my earlier point, I really wish he'd stop doing that.
Because the Ducks are playing in
the house of satan The Joe, marginal calls tend to not go in their favor. Sbisa was using his body to keep Zetterberg away from the play after he passed the puck and subsequently penalized for interference. One difference I've noticed between the Carlyle PK and the Boudreau PK is the patience with the puck to kill time. Carlyle had his players rocket the puck out of the zone every chance they could. Boudreau encourages the players to skate in circles to kill time before clearing the zone.
With 0:02 seconds remaining in the Sbisa minor, Captain Getzlaf goes Ryan Getzlaf circa 2008 on us. Getzy strips Damien Brunner of the puck and darts down the middle. Howard takes a gamble and comes out to challenge Getzlaf. Howard dives in an attempt to get the puck off Getzlaf's stick but the captain stickhandles around him and fends off a diving/hooking Brunner to score a wide-open short-handed goal. Ducks up 2-0. I think I could actually see the memories of Thursday night in the third period flashing through the Red Wings heads at this point.
Only 90 seconds later, Ben Lovejoy takes a hit in order to get to the puck and ring it around the boards to Selanne. From behind the net, Selanne sends a perfect pass to an on rushing Emerson Etem. Etem easily puts the puck past Howard, scoring his first ever Stanley Cup Playoff goal.
Now Detroit was really frustrated. They were still trying to start stuff after the whistle, especially Niklas Kronwall. He kept poking at Perry and Perry turned the other cheek. The rest of the Red Wings were getting away with murder down the stretch until Bonino draws a holding call, sending Brunner to the box.
It took Anaheim a while to finally get set up in Detroit's zone. When they do, the Red Wings are called for another penalty. Turns out, someone was watching Perry in front of Howard when Howard - not Perry - punches Pears in the back of the head with his glove. I'm sure Perry probably did something to deserve it but I'll take it. Still on the power play when the penalty is called, the Ducks will now have 1:00 minute-ish of 5-on-3, so Bruce Boudreau calls a time out to give his top power play unit a breather.
The Ducks do a lot of passing and don't get anything on the two-man advantage. While back on the regular power play, Bobby continues to play his way back into my graces. Ryan controls the puck behind the net, he makes a hard pass over to Koivu who shows his skill at the one-touch pass again, sending the puck to Matt Beleskey in front of the net. Beleskey scores on the power play. I know, I don't get it either. The Ducks are now leading 4-0 and the seats empty quickly in the arena.
Anaheim holds off Detroit and their late iffy power play with 27.5 seconds to go. The final horn sounds and the Ducks are up 2-1 in the series.
Side note: I don't want to seem like a Debbie Downer but good Lord, Ducks, can we score all these third period goals in the first period? I don't like feeling like I'm on the edge of the cliff until halfway through the third.
The Good: This season, the Ducks are now 2-0 at
the pit of despair The Joe. Haven't said that in a while. This is Anaheim's first ever shut-out at JLA and Hiller's third in his playoff career.
The Bad: Toni Lydman was steady once he rejoined the lineup. Now that he probably has a concussion, he's going to be out leaving Bruce with a decision. Sbisa earned his spot back in the lineup so there is one open space and two scratched defensemen: Sheldon Souray and Sami Vatenen. I thought the defense was better without Souray but can we trust a smaller, rookie defenseman against a great passing and skating team?
The Ugly: I watched a ton of hockey today. The officiating in every game, not just this one, is awful. There is zero consistency. I don't want to sound like Hazy, but seriously, what power does the JLA have over officials to make them call such a shitty game for the road team?
Next Game: Monday, May 6 at 5:00 PM PST in Detroit