Bjorn Melin scored in his NHL debut and the Ducks also got goals from Travis Moen and Ryan Getzlaf to beat the Detroit Red Wings 4-2 on Sunday night, ending a four-game losing streak. The victory restored some confidence to an injury-riddled club that had allowed four third-period goals in a 4-3 home loss to Columbus on Friday.
“Our message after that game was that the only way we were going to be able to prevent what happened from continuing on was to have 20 guys give us our best 60 minutes,” Carlyle said. “They made a commitment to do that, and that was all part of the process – not focus on the negative spiral that we’ve been in, but to focus on how to get out of it collectively. We’re going to feel a lot better about ourselves tomorrow than we did on Saturday morning.”
Ilya Bryzgalov, making his third consecutive start in net because of Jean-Sebastien Giguere’s groin injury, stopped 33 shots to post his first victory since Nov. 3. Rob Niedermayer added an empty-net goal with 4.1 seconds left, helping send Detroit to its third straight loss.
Mikael Samuelsson and Tomas Holmstrom scored power-play goals for the Red Wings, who are 0-3 on their five-game trip. Both of their three-game losing streaks this season have included losses to Anaheim and San Jose.
“When you set up your road trip and you know you’re playing Anaheim, you know they’re right there at the top,” said Detroit coach Mike Babcock, who guided the Ducks to the Stanley Cup final in 2003. “We had every opportunity to win, and Bryz made some great saves for them. But we shot two in our own net tonight, and that’s not going to happen very often.”
Melin, a 25-year-old right wing acquired from the New York Islanders in March 2002, put Anaheim ahead 2-1 at 10:36 of the second when his intended centring pass for Andy McDonald changed direction off the stick of Detroit’s Brett Lebda and got past Dominik Hasek. The play began when Teemu Selanne intercepted Robert Lang’s breakout pass outside the Red Wings’ blue-line.
Getzlaf made it 3-1 about two minutes later with his 17th goal, beating Hasek to the stick side with a slap shot from the top of the right circle.
“I had a good look at it and I saw it all the way, but I guess I misplayed the puck,” said Hasek, a six-time Vezina Trophy winner and two-time all-star who was back between the pipes for the first time since allowing a career-high eight goals in Thursday’s 9-4 loss to the Sharks. “It was a good shot, but I should have made the save. If he shot it 10 more times, I would probably make 10 saves.”
A delayed penalty was about to be called against Anaheim’s Sean O’Donnell for cross-checking Holmstrom when a shot by Henrik Zetterberg skipped off Holmstrom’s skate and past Bryzgalov, trimming the Ducks lead to 3-2 with 17:46 to play and Joe DiPenta already in the box for high-sticking.
Detroit was pressing for the tying goal when Bryzgalov dropped to his knees to smother a 10-foot wrist shot by Pavel Datsyuk with 1:25 remaining.
“The ice obviously got tilted in the third period,” Carlyle said. “They got some very talented people, and if you let them skate through the neutral zone they can burn you. There’s no question they’re a very skilled group, but our commitment and our work ethic was very large and we won our share of one-on-one battles.”
Detroit defenceman Danny Markov, who inadvertently deflected a puck into his own net for the tiebreaking goal in the Red Wings’ 4-2 loss at Los Angeles on Saturday, also got a stick on a wrist shot from the top of the right circle by Moen that beat Hasek to the stick side and gave Anaheim a 1-0 lead at 1:15 of the second.
“Sometimes you play hard and the bounces don’t go your way,” Hasek said. “The first two goals were deflections from my teammates, and those were tough goals.”
Datsyuk returned to Detroit’s lineup after sitting out three games with a groin injury, but defenceman Mathieu Schneider left the game after just two shifts because of what the Red Wings described as a lower body injury.
Notes: Ducks C Samuel Pahlsson played in his 237th consecutive game, tying D Oleg Tverdovsky’s franchise record. He hasn’t missed a game since Feb. 5, 2003, when he was a healthy scratch. … The NHL honoured Giguere in a pregame ceremony for his 25th regular-season shutout (Dec. 6), a modest feat considering the fact that 13 other current goaltenders have more shutouts than Giguere – and five of them are on a list of 26 goalies with 42 or more. The record is 103 by Terry Sawchuk, who had 85 shutouts with the Red Wings.