Game against Red Wings has extra meaning for Ducks

Game against Red Wings has extra meaning for Ducks
Detroit's Daniel Cleary, left, celebrates after scoring a goal past Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller as defenseman Ben Lovejoy looks on during Game 6 of the Western Conference quarterfinals in May. The Ducks will play the Red Wings on Tuesday for the first time since last season's playoff-series loss to Detroit. (Paul Sancya / Associated Press)

Dustin Penner might not be familiar with all of the details, but when the forward was asked about the Ducks' Tuesday night visit to Detroit, he figured out all he needed to know.

"Is that the first time we've played them since they eliminated us?" asked Penner, who spent last season with the Kings. "Oh, then it is a big game."

The Ducks (23-7-5) created this season's motto, "Unfinished Business," because of their disappointment over last season's first-round playoff exit against the seventh-seeded Red Wings.

The frustration of that Game 7 loss was multilayered for the Ducks.


It deprived the Pacific Division champions of a second-round series against the Kings, and a possible shot at the eventual Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks, against whom the Ducks went 3-0 last season.


The Ducks also blew a 3-1 series lead against Detroit, and three of their four losses were in overtime. Corey Perry, their goals leader each of the last four seasons, including this one, didn't score once in the series.

So close, so far away.

"That was last year," said Perry, who has 21 goals this season. "This is a different year. I'm not even thinking about that."

Hard to buy, considering the "Unfinished Business" T-shirts Perry and others wear around the Ducks' dressing room.

The Red Wings were moved to the Eastern Conference this season, so the Ducks couldn't face them in any playoff round before the Stanley Cup Final. This season's Detroit team is weaker; the Red Wings are 15-11-9, with goalie Jimmy Howard (knee) and wings Justin Abdelkader (concussion) and Henrik Zetterberg (back) sidelined by injuries.

The Ducks have momentum as they begin a four-game trip. They've won five in a row, Perry has scored eight goals in the last eight games and center Ryan Getzlaf has scored at least one point in the last 16 games he's played.

"I'd like to say a win will make up for the spring. It won't," Ducks defenseman Ben Lovejoy said. "But we're going to do everything we can to get back at them one step at a time and it starts with this game."

Lovejoy said the Ducks' attention to outplaying opponents late in games was triggered by the 2013 playoff series, when they yielded the three overtime goals and gave up two third-period goals in Game 4.

"It certainly doesn't give us closure," Lovejoy said. "That can only come in April or May or June, but right now we want to keep rolling. We're playing good hockey and we need to keep doing that against the team that ended our season."

Big hit

The NHL on Monday suspended Edmonton defenseman Corey Potter for two games after he checked Ducks center Nick Bonino from behind into the boards Sunday night.

Bonino said Monday his "back is real stiff," but that he expects to play Tuesday night.

Potter will lose $7,948.72 in salary.



When: 4:30 PST.

On the air: TV: Prime Ticket; Radio: 830.

Etc.: The Ducks will have played 24 road games when they complete this trip, which also takes them to New Jersey on Friday, to New York to face the Islanders on Saturday, and to Washington on Monday.

Twitter: @latimespugmire