Red Wings complete upset of Anaheim Ducks

Randy Sportak


Detroit Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg (middle) celebrates with teammates Daniel Cleary and Jakub Kindl after scoring during Game 7 of their Western Conference quarterfinal against the Anaheim Ducks May 12, 2013. (REUTERS/Mike Blake)

Detroit Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg (middle) celebrates with teammates Daniel Cleary and Jakub Kindl after scoring during Game 7 of their Western Conference quarterfinal against the Anaheim Ducks May 12, 2013. (REUTERS/Mike Blake)



The day before Game 7, Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said he could think of one way to counter the top stars of the Detroit Red Wings.

“A magic wand,” was his solution.

Disneyland is just down the street, but obviously none of Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother, Merlin and Tinker Bell turned over their source of power to Boudreau.

Lord knows Boudreau could have used one, not only to help stave off yet another series-winning performance by Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk but also to instill the same clinching-game magic in his big guns.

Led by Zetterberg’s goal and assist and Datsyuk’s Selke Trophy-calibre defending, the Red Wings advanced to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs by upsetting the Ducks 3-2 in the deciding game of the best-of-seven playoff series.

“In my opinion, probably the best two-way centres in the league. That's how good they are, and it's not like they show up once in a while. They do that every night,” Wings defenceman Niklas Kronwall said.

Detroit will face the Chicago Blackhawks in the second round. The other Western Conference series will feature the San Jose Sharks taking on the defending Stanley Cup-champion Los Angeles Kings.

A Ducks victory would have created the first ever playoff series between the rival L.A.-area clubs.

Instead, the Ducks will spend the summer lamenting a wasted opportunity to parlay their fantastic regular season, in which they finished second in the West and third overall, into a trip to the second round despite holding a 3-2 edge in the best-of-seven series.

“They were the better team tonight,” Ducks defenceman Ben Lovejoy said. “They outplayed us from the start and we had to battle to hang in there with them. We didn’t give ourselves a real chance to win.”

It’s the first time in this series a team won two straight games. It’s also the first time the Wings won without going to overtime.

Zetterberg, playing the fifth Game 7 of his NHL career, opened the scoring just 109 seconds in before the Honda Center’s sellout crowd of 17,412.

Zetterberg, who was quiet through the first few games of the series but cranked it up in the last three, cruised to the slot and was on the spot for the loose puck, which he easily put behind Ducks netminder Jonas Hiller.

The hosts were reeling for several minutes, but pulled even when California kid Emerson Etem netted his third goal of the series.

The rookie winger gained the puck at the blueline and zipped to the slot. He actually bobbled the puck for a split second before firing his shot, and that changed the angle enough for him to see a little more space and rip a top-shelf wrister past Jimmy Howard.

But the Red Wings regained the edge before the period ended thanks to Justin Abdelkader’s shorthanded tally.

Abdelkader intercepted Francois Beauchemin’s ill-fated cross-ice pass and zipped away for the breakaway chance he buried.

“Hopefully it was a good goal, and it got us going,” Abdelkader said. “We got that one shortly after and that was huge.

“I was going to shoot at first, but decided to make a deke.”

When Valtteri Filppula scored his first goal of the series — not exactly the kind of performance a pending unrestricted free agent needs — in the second period, it appeared to be nail in the coffin.

However, keeping with a theme the Ducks have used all year, a late comeback attempt was in the works.

Beauchemin made it a one-goal game with just over three minutes remaining in regulation, his cross-ice pass banked in off Jonathan Ericsson’s foot, but that was as close as the hosts could come.

It was a power-play goal while Zetterberg was in the penalty box for flipping the puck over the glass.

“I don't know how many of those I've had in my career, but it's not many,” the Wings captain said. “It's a really stupid time to take that one. I think I made it way too interesting than it should have been.”

Now, the Wings are renewing their rivalry with Chicago, the regular-season champs who handily won the season series.

On Twitter: @SunRandySportak


Reader's comments »

By adding a comment on the site, you accept our terms and conditions