ANAHEIM, Calif. – In a matchup of recent Stanley Cup winners, the defending champion Detroit Red Wings showed they’re still at the top of their game.
Dan Cleary and Johan Franzen scored 35 seconds apart midway through the third period to rally Detroit to a 4-3 victory over the Anaheim Ducks, the 2007 Cup champs, on Wednesday night.
“We really want to win here,” Franzen said. “It’s always a battle out there. They played a little bit better than us in the first and then I think we took over more and more.
“We got some good speed in their zone the last two periods and got on their defencemen, and got the puck behind them a little bit more, which made it hard for their defencemen to do something constructive with the puck. It’s hard to play against us.”
Detroit coach Mike Babcock, who was the Ducks coach when they made it to the Cup finals in 2003, said the Red Wings’ plan for the third period worked well.
“We talked a lot about the fact that (Scott) Niedermayer and (Chris) Pronger had played so many minutes, 19 minutes going into the third period. They’ve got some kids up and they are doing a good job, but you just want to wear on those guys and eventually you are going to get your opportunities.
“We were able to do that.”
Cleary pulled Detroit even with a 30-foot wrist shot that sailed past goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere on the stick side. Franzen scored the go-ahead goal by batting the puck into the net after Pavel Datsyuk took a shot from the left circle and the puck bounced high off Giguere.
Cleary’s goal was his eighth, and Franzen got No. 19.
Jiri Hudler and Tomas Holmstrom scored earlier for Detroit. Datsyuk and Niklas Kronwall each had two assists for the Red Wings.
The Ducks’ Ryan Getzlaf had a goal and two assists in the losing effort. Corey Perry and Steve Montador had the other Anaheim goals.
Chris Osgood had 25 saves for Detroit, including blocking Perry’s 8-footer in the waning seconds.
“Osgood made a great save there,” Cleary said. “Perry had the game-tying goal in his hands and that was just a great save.”
Giguere faced 33 shots.
“We just found a way to lose,” he said. “Teams that play with confidence, they find a way to win. I think the Red Wings did that tonight.
“We don’t always do that. It’s going to be up to us, the veterans especially, to step up and create something here.”
Hudler drew the Red Wings even at 2-2 on a power play at 2:49 of the second period while Pronger was off for cross-checking Cleary, but Montador put Anaheim back on top when he scored at 11:28 of the period.
Hudler beat Giguere high to the glove side for his 17th goal. Montador got his fourth goal on a wrist shot from the right circle, a score set up by Getzlaf’s cross-ice pass.
After Holmstrom opened the scoring 9:03 in, Getzlaf tied it at the 17-minute mark and then set up Perry’s power-play goal 1:48 later while Holmstrom was off for holding Travis Moen.
Getzlaf tied it 1-1 during a scramble in front of the Detroit goal, first bouncing the puck off Red Wings’ defender Andreas Lilja, then knocking his own rebound just inside the left post.
Anaheim went up 2-1 when Getzlaf, skating near the right boards, sliced across the slot and backhanded the puck to Perry, who redirected it past Osgood.
Getzlaf’s goal was his 36th, and Perry’s was his 16th.
Holmstrom redirected a pass from Datsyuk high over Giguere’s right shoulder for his 14th goal.
Notes: Getzlaf had a team record-tying five assists in the Ducks’ 5-4 win over the Red Wings in Anaheim on Oct. 29. … Detroit was coming off a 5-4 overtime loss at Dallas on Monday, a defeat that ended the Red Wings’ six-game winning streak. … The Ducks were without F Teemu Selanne (lacerated left quadriceps), C Todd Marchant (fractured finger) and D Kent Huskins (fractured foot).