Red Wings advance to the Semi-finals! They take the game 3-2 to win the series 4 games to 3.
In this do-or-die game for both sides, the Red Wings couldn’t have asked for a better start. Just 1:49 into the game, Valtteri Filppula put a shot on Jonas Hiller that he stopped, and gave up a trickling rebound in front of the net. Henrik Zetterberg came up quick and put it in for the quick 1-0 lead. Jakub Kindl also picked up the secondary assist. It took a while, but the Ducks managed to even the score. 13:48 in, Emerson Etem battled with the puck into the zone. He almost lost possession, but managed to get his shot off that beat Jimmy Howard up high on the short side for the 1-1 tie. Wings took the lead right back in glorious fashion. While killing off a penalty, a back-checking Justin Abdelkader broke up a loose pass between the defensemen and gained possession of the puck. He then put on the wheels and gave himself a clean breakaway on Hiller. He pulled Hiller out of position just enough to put the puck in the 5-hole at 16:37 for the shorthanded goal, and the lead for the Wings once again. They’d leave the ice with the 2-1 lead, but trailing 12-11 in shots.
Second period was more defensively minded by both sides, and a good display of penalty killing for both. Only goal in the period ended up extending the Red Wings’ lead. At 13:45, in a rough battle for the puck on the boards, Zetterberg made a blind pass behind him to Daniel Cleary, who, caught up in 2 Ducks players, sloppily shoveled the puck to Filppula in the slot. He let off a vicious backhand that slightly deflected off of a Duck’s stick and past Hiller to make it 3-1 Wings. They’d leave the 2nd period with a 27-25 edge in shots.
Third period became a matter of the Red Wings staying out of the penalty box, playing smart defensively, and not letting off of the accelerator in the offensive zone. The Ducks would get a lucky break very late though, as Zetterberg inadvertently put the puck over the glass and took a delay of game penalty. At 16:43, the puck came across to the net and bounced off of Jonathan Ericsson’s skate and into the net to cut the lead to 3-2. Ducks pulled Hiller with just over a minute left, but they’d end up icing it so Hiller came back as they took the faceoff in their own zone. They would withstand the last minute barrage to take the game 3-2, and the series 4-3.
This is the type of game they’ve needed to play all season. Physical, forechecking, back-checking, penalty killing, getting shots to the net, everything. If you let your foot off the gas even a little bit, you allow the other team to take control. Gotta play a full 60 minutes. And Howard was completely outstanding in this win. We need him like this all the way down.
Next series will be against the locally much-hated Blackhawks on Wednesday night. See you then for the Semi-finals, Nation!