The Ducks waddled back too easily to steal the win away from the Red Wings. Detroit blew a two goal lead and flawless play through 45 minutes to lose 4-3 in a shootout at Honda Center Monday night.
The Red Wings came into Southern California with an unbelievable finish against Dallas on Saturday. They will play without their leader in the lineup as he was dealt a blow to the head that kept him out of the game against one of the strongest teams in the Western Conference.
The Ducks are atop the Pacific Division with a current two game winning streak with a 10 point lead on the Canucks with 71 points. The Ducks won 3-2 at the Joe Louis Arena with captain Ryan Getzlaf scoring the game winner against them. On the night they put in John Gibson in net for a third straight game after he won two straight allowing four goals against both Calgary and Edmonton.
Gibson had to deal with Detroit’s offense early, as the time to score against the Ducks was imminent due to their unsuspecting surprise when they heat up. The Red Wings got on two power plays but were unable to break by the Ducks netminder as well as the man-to-man coverage they had going. Anaheim had two power plays but was denied by the Detroit penalty killing unit allowing two shots but no goals. The period ended with no score on the board with Detroit and Anaheim looking great while challenged on the man advantage.
The Ducks started the second period with a power play that went down by the Detroit PK unit. The Red Wings were rewarded with a great play in the Ducks end where Darren Helm crashed a Ducks defender into the boards that had the puck go onto the stick of Pavel Datsyuk. The Russian magician fired over the glove of Gibson to put Detroit on the board with his 20th of the season and third in two games.
Datsyuk made magic happen again on a great heads up play on the man advantage as Justin Abdelkader made a great pass to Datsyuk who shot a backhander notching his second of the night. Detroit kept the heat on the Ducks in their zone with their fourth power play of the game scrambling for the puck near the crease where a fight ensued for possession while Datsyuk waited for the puck trying to go for the hat trick. He didn’t get it on the opportunity but he had plenty of time to get it done.
Detroit took 11 shots on goal for the second straight period holding Anaheim to just 3 with the key being the Red Wings blocked shots and goaltender Jimmy Howard staying tight through forty minutes of play.
Detroit got right back to business in the third pressuring Gibson with Abdelkader trying to grab a goal for himself nearly moving the puck out of traffic but was stopped by the goalie. The Ducks were trying to make a move but were being held off by the strong Detroit defense allow six shots through nine minutes. Nearing the midway part of the period, the Ducks Hampus Lindholm fired a high shot that went off the upper body of Howard before Andrew Cogliano caught the rebound scoring his tenth on the year to cut the lead in half.
They pulled of the same play where a shot from Clayton Stone at the blue line went off Howard where Emerson Etem jumped on the puck and scoring his third and first in a dozen games through the five hole. Coach Mike Babcock called a timeout to regroup his team as they found themselves in a stalemate with eight minutes left in regulation.
The plan faltered against two of the Ducks best players as Getzlaf set up Francois Beauchemin near the far end to fire a shot through traffic giving the team a 3-2 lead over the Red Wings seeing themselves at the helm for the first time. The Ducks have had 12 games where they marched back to win and were going the same way in it.
Before they could celebrate, there was still plenty of hockey left and the Red Wings recently came back from a larger deficit. On a play with Gustav Nyquist, Riley Sheahan received a quick pass from the Swede to score on a wrister through the net for his 10th and became the seventh player for Detroit to reach double digits. The tying goal inevitably took the Red Wings to their third consecutive overtime.
The Red Wings hoped to avoid a second shootout in three games but after both teams took 11 combined shots on goal with Detroit recording six, a shootout was all that was left to play in order for one team to win.
Datsyuk went top shelf and missed as the puck went off the crossbar whereas Perry gave the Ducks the lead on a shot between Howard’s legs. Nyquist went for a signature shot backhanding through the five hole of Gibson to keep them in competition. Anaheim struck back on Jakob Silfverberg firing a shot that was the game winner for the Ducks.
This was the fourth consecutive win for Anaheim against the Red Wings dating back to last season where they handed them a hard loss both at home and on the road.
“We tried to more be safety more goal a bit back and they start to shoot at everything and follow rebounds,” said Datsyuk about the loss. The Red Wings had a solid gameplay through forty minutes until it fell apart. “We got up two goals and got a little cautious maybe for about ten minutes or so,” said Kronwall. “They got the lead back and to that we gotta keep our composure a little bit better than that.”
Howard had a solid night as a whole making 22 saves in his first loss since returing from injury. Gibson went up three straight with 35 saves and a .921 save percentage most likely looking like the top goaltender for the Ducks to keep in net.
Gaining a point and a cutting Montreal’s margin to a pair of games puts the Red Wings in a similar situation that now stands in front of them as they have the defending champion Los Angeles Kings up next in a back to back game setup playing the Ducks and Kings for the first time in years.