ROMULUS, Mich. – The Detroit Red Wings had a setback during their series-evening victory at Anaheim.
Detroit defenceman Danny DeKeyser broke his right thumb in the third period of the 5-4 overtime win in Game 2 on Thursday night, and is out for rest of the playoffs.
DeKeyser signed with the Red Wings on March 29, soon after finishing his college career at Western Michigan.
“It was a big loss and it’s hard to believe a kid out of college would be a big loss, but he is,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said Friday night after stepping off the team plane.
Babcock has said the Red Wings wouldn’t have rallied for a spot in a 22nd straight post-season without DeKeyser.
Now, they have to try to advance without him on the blue line.
Babcock is putting another rookie in the lineup, Brian Lashoff, instead of one of two veterans, Ian White and Carlo Colaiacovo.
“He’s smart, knows how to play and competes hard,” Babcock said. “He makes a good first pass and he’s a good penalty-killer.”
Detroit blew a three-goal lead in the third period of Game 2 against the Ducks, who sent the game to an overtime that ended quickly. Gustav Nyquist scored a power-play goal 1:21 in the period.
The seventh-seeded Red Wings hope home ice is an advantage against second-seeded Anaheim that helps them take a 2-1 lead in the first-round series Saturday night in Game 3.
“If you would’ve been in their building, you would’ve known how deafening it is,” Babcock said. “We expect that to be what it should be like for us in our building in warmups.”
The Ducks are simply planning to play as well as they did in their last game at Joe Louis Arena. They beat Detroit 5-2 on Feb. 15—breaking a 2-all tie after two periods—before losing two games in the regular-season series at home by a combined score of 7-2.
“We’ll draw back on what we did earlier in the season,” Anaheim captain Ryan Getzlaf said. “We went into a tough building and played real well. We know we can win there, but we’re in the playoffs now and it’ll be fun.”
Both teams said they learned lessons Thursday night.
Detroit scored two goals in the first 4:20 of the game, went ahead 3-0 just more than a minute into the second period and had another three-goal cushion 20 seconds after the puck dropped in the third.
“We weren’t ready to play at the start of the game, and the start of the periods,” Getzlaf said. “They scored three goals in the first minute of each period. We’ve got to be ready to hit the ice and be flying for the next game.”
And if the Red Wings get ahead again, they plan to keep the pressure on Anaheim after giving up three goals in a 10-minute span of the third period.
“You can’t stop playing,” Detroit defenceman Niklas Kronwall said. “We got up 4-1 there in the start of the third, then we just kind of relaxed, sat back and let them come wave after wave.”
What if the Red Wings ended up losing in OT and falling behind 0-2 in the Western Conference best-of-seven, first-round series?
“I’d rather not think about that right now,” Kronwall said. “We found a way to win, now it’s 1-1. We haven’t really won anything yet. We have to stay grounded and make sure we focus on the task at hand.”
The Ducks, meanwhile, were lamenting the loss that looked like it could’ve been quite a comeback win.
“We lost an opportunity to put a stranglehold on the series,” said Bobby Ryan, who scored the tying goal with 2:22 left in regulation for the Ducks. “And, we let it get away.”
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