The Ducks-Wings season series began auspiciously, with the Ducks outshooting the Wings in the first period, 14-6. Before this night, the Ducks had not won at Joe Louis Arena since February 10, 1998, and had won 4 out of 37 games played in Detroit. Despite the Ducks' dominance of the first period, both teams remained scoreless after 20 minutes. Each team scored twice in the second period. Then, Andrew Cogliano scored the tie-breaking goal 1:02 into the third period, and Bobby Ryan added a tally 48 seconds later. Cogliano struck again late in the third, with an empty net insurance goal (the last two goals were the result of Wings turnovers). At this point in the season, the Ducks were humming: the victory against the Red Wings made them 4-1-0 on their road trip, and Viktor Fasth was undefeated.
Wings 5, Ducks 1 (March 22, 2013 at Anaheim)
This time, the Ducks were less fortunate. Their home game winning streak was snapped at 13 games by the Wings. Justin Abdelkader scored a hat trick, and the Wings hung five unanswered goals on the Ducks. The Ducks actually led in the first period, due to a Teemu Selanne goal (off a feed from Kyle Palmieri on the rush), but completely blew their lead. Two minutes later, Abdelkader skated around Sheldon Souray and got the puck past Fasth. Shortly after that, Pavel Datsyuk scored on the power play off a Damien Brunner feed. Abdelkader got his second and third goals in the second period, and Johan Franzen got a wrister past Fasth. Fasth was benched for Hiller, but that was useless. The Ducks made Jimmy Howard look like an all-world goalie, and Detroit's defense hung tough. And to add insult to injury, Emerson Etem tipped the 5th Wings "insurance goal" into the net. All in all, a game to forget.
Wings 2, Ducks 1 (March 24, 2013 at Anaheim)
Not as bad as the 22nd, but another loss to Detroit. Detroit's Jakub Kindle opened the scoring on a first period power play, launching a shot from the point that Dan Cleary tipped in. Drew Miller then got an Ian White shot past Hiller. 45 seconds into the second period, Getzlaf skated into the right wing circle and released a wrist shot that got inside the far post. But after that, no other goals were scored. And once again, Jimmy Howard looked like an all-world goalie, and stopped all 11 of the Ducks' attempts at an equalizer in the third period. In the game's waning seconds, Cam Fowler took a wide open shot in the slot, but it deflected off of Jimmy Howard's shoulder. The game can be summarized by the tripping penalty that was called on Getzlaf with 30 econds remaining in the game. When Getzlaf, Corey Perry, and Teemu Selanne attempted to protest the penalty, all three were ejected from the game (the Ducks will need to stay composed during this series).
It will be interesting to see how Bruce Boudreau's Ducks acquit themselves against the Wings. We're not as tough and nasty as we were 5-10 years ago. While Getzlaf and Perry are now in their prime, the Ducks' cadre of forwards is full of offensively-minded guys who can also be tough, not tough guys who can score.
And the Wings are not the flawless organization that they were in the nineties and early 00s. Yzerman, Shanahan, and Lidstrom (!) are gone, and until tonight, they were on the verge of seeing their 21 year playoff streak come to a close. Does Henrik Zetterberg have what it takes to lead his team to a victory over us? Will the Ducks show that their regular season success was not a fraud? Regardless, Pavel Datsyuk is still going to get it.