Learning to win was the most important thing Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau believes his upgraded team took from Saturday night’s 3-2 triumph at Joe Louis Arena against the Detroit Red Wings.
Anaheim rallied from a one-goal deficit in the third period, stood up to frenzied pressure in the late going, and found victory when captain Ryan Getzlaf pressed his way to his second goal of the night with 24 seconds left.
There were other feats worth noting.
The captain shall lead them
Ducks forward Matt Beleskey said Getzlaf’s late, controversial goal, in which he was fortunate to not get called for hooking even though replays indicated there was no penalty, is an example of why Getzlaf wears the “C.”
Getzlaf cracked that he shot with his eyes closed, but the truth is he wasn’t going to be denied and that’s what the team needs to elevate itself from last year’s finish in the second round of the postseason.
Patrick Maroon is a force behind the net and near the goalie
For the second consecutive game, Maroon plucked the puck away from an out-of-position goaltender -- this time Detroit’s Jimmy Howard --and dished an assist up front that Getzlaf converted into an early-second-period goal.
Maroon may be stout, but he has a gentle touch around the net and he’s proven to be an able first-liner as Dany Heatley recovers from a groin injury.
Ryan Kesler’s savvy allows him to maximize scoring chances
It didn’t look like Kesler was doing anything more than bashing Red Wings defenseman Brendan Smith into the boards behind Howard, seconds after Detroit took a 2-1 lead.
Instead, the acquisition from Vancouver forced the puck from Smith, collected it and pushed it to Beleskey for a tying goal.
“I’m beginning to learn a little about the man -- he wants to win very badly, he’s determined and that’s the way to do it,” Boudreau said of Kesler’s third assist.
Goalie Frederik Andersen can handle serious pressure
The Red Wings staged an intense third-period push at the second-year goalie, who had 20 regular-season wins as a rookie. He didn’t give up the lead, with a stop against Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg among his 10 saves in the third.