Bad starts and power-play goals not only hovered over the Ducks like an ominous cloud Thursday night, they ultimately turned out to be their undoing in Game 2 against the Red Wings.
What was a stirring three-goal, third-period comeback by Anaheim went for naught as the Red Wings scored 1 minute 21 seconds into overtime on a power-play goal by Gustav Nyquist. It gave the Red Wings a 5-4 victory over the Ducks at Honda Center and tied the first-round playoff series at one game each. Game 3 is in Detroit on Saturday.
The ugly-looking numbers for the Ducks to ponder: three power-play goals by Detroit. Four early-period goals to help set the tone and ultimately seal the win by the Wings.
“It was awful,” Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau said. “I have no answer for you at this point. Four goals in the first four shifts of the game is pretty amazing, and three of them were on the power play.”
Said Anaheim captain Ryan Getzlaf: “Tonight, we weren’t ready to play at the start of the game, and the start of the periods. They scored three goals in the first minute of each period. We’ve got to be ready to hit the ice and be flying for the next game.”
Even so, the Ducks found themselves in a position to possibly steal one, rallying from a 4-1 third-period deficit with Bobby Ryan’s goal with 2:22 remaining in regulation to tie it, 4-4.
But Detroit was deadly on the power play all night.
It went on the man advantage one final time when Ducks defenseman Sheldon Souray went off for slashing with 38 seconds left in regulation. Detroit’s power play carried over to overtime and once again the Red Wings made the Ducks and goalie Jonas Hiller pay. Making a slick play on the game-winning goal was Red Wings forward Val Filppula, who flicked a backhander down low between the legs of Ducks defenseman Ben Lovejoy to Nyquist, who was all alone on the left side.
“I was hoping it would get it done before overtime because I knew they would gain their composure again, because the last 10 minutes, they lost it,” Boudreau said.
Edge-of-the-seat playoff hockey gripped Honda Center through the last 20 minutes of regulation and spilled into overtime. The Ducks almost didn’t get there.
For 57-plus minutes, it looked as though the Red Wings would be able to do it in regulation. Ryan’s goal, off a pass from defenseman Cam Fowler, tied it and a few minutes before that he hit the left post.
What jump-started the Ducks was a sharp play by Getzlaf, who somehow managed to put a backhander past Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard under pressure, cutting the lead to 4-2. Kyle Palmieri pulled the Ducks to within a goal with his shot from the right circle, beating Howard on the glove side at 12:31.
“We’re not doing the things we should be doing and we’re getting frustrated, early on,” Boudreau said. “
The Red Wings were reeling but survived, though they will be without rookie defenseman Danny DeKeyser, who suffered a broken thumb and is done for the series, the team said.
Detroit Coach Mike Babcock talked about the pros and cons of calling a timeout when the Ducks were surging.
“It’s hard to settle your team down, kids on the road, in the playoffs, in a building that is going to be louder when you call a timeout,” he said. “You’re not settling them down, you’re putting gas on the fire. What are you going to do about it? You’re hoping your big guys are going to go out there and make a play.”