With 5:27 remaining in the third, Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf slashed Brett Lebda from behind in a corner of Detroit’s end and was sent off. Just 39 seconds later, Nicklas Lidstrom slapped the puck from the blue-line, hitting Holmstrom on the shoulder and bounced over the goal-line to supply the Red Wings with the go-ahead goal.
After Detroit’s Robert Lang was penalized with 3:19 left, Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle pulled Jean-Sebastien Giguere with more than two minutes remaining and the Ducks had a two-man advantage. They couldn’t score. Hasek wouldn’t let them.
Anaheim outshot Detroit 32-19.
Zetterberg scored in the first period on a power play, and Chris Kunitz tied it up for Anaheim 1:35 into the third period.
Game 2 is Sunday night (7:30 p.m. ET).
The teams began the series with equally effective power plays – Anaheim 9-for-55 (16.4 per cent) and Detroit 10-for-63 (15.9 per cent) through two rounds.
Special teams play is so important in tight-checking playoff games, and Detroit came out on top in Game 1 by going 2-for-4 on power plays compared to 0-for-7 for Anaheim.
Detroit got the first manpower advantage and Zetterberg’s goal at 3:44 came only eight seconds after Joe Dipenta took a seat in the penalty box. Zetterberg was at the bottom of the circle to the right of Giguere when he tried a cross-ice pass. The puck struck defenceman Francois Beauchemin’s foot and caromed between Giguere’s legs.
The goal was Zetterberg’s fifth of the post-season. The 26-year-old Swede has become one of Detroit’s most valuable players since being – and this is hard to believe – the 210th player drafted in 1999.
In the sixth minute, Anaheim got a two-man advantage for 1:35 and it was a shooting gallery as Hasek faced blast after blast, but the Ducks couldn’t put a puck past the 42-year-old Czech goalie. A Getzlaf blast off a post was closest they got.
Scoring chances were few and far between as the checking got even closer in the second period. The Red Wings were still clinging to their 1-0 lead after 40 minutes. They were 5-0 when leading after two periods this post-season, so things were looking up for coach Mike Babcock and his players.
Until Kunitz struck, that is, with an assist from Getzlaf.
It started as a harmless-looking rush by the two forwards. Getzlaf delivered a pass in the middle of Detroit’s zone and Kunitz took a shot as he approached defenceman Andreas Lilja. The puck found a bottom corner of the net to tie it 1-1 at 1:35. Hasek might have had trouble seeing it in Lilja’s feet.
It couldn’t get any more intense. Dan Cleary slid to block a Chris Pronger slapshot. Pavel Datsyuk put on stickhandling displays most times he handled the puck. Hasek and Giguere were at the top of their games.
Then Getzlaf took the costly penalty and Holmstrom did his act in front of Giguere to help come up with the winning goal.
Notes: Anaheim F Todd Marchant played his first game since April 6 hernia surgery . . . Chris Getzlaf, the brother of Anaheim C Ryan Getzlaf, was the 33rd pick in the CFL draft last week and will attend the Hamilton Tiger-Cats’ training camp . . . Detroit F Dan Cleary hopes to become the first native of Newfoundland and Labrador to have his name etched onto the Stanley Cup. “It’s one thing as a province we’re missing and I’m trying to bring it home,” Cleary said after the morning skate. “I know the province would be very excited, as would I. It would be a hell of a celebration.” His electrician-father Kevin was in for the second round of the playoffs and has returned to St. John’s, and his mother, Janet, who operates a clothing store, is on hand for this round . . . Most of the so-called experts picked Anaheim to win the series. Coach Mike Babcock describes his Red Wings as underdogs. Ducks coach Randy Carlisle says the label is misleading: “It’s amazing that an underdog had 113 points and finished first in its division. We’re the underdog. They got more wins than we did. He’s just using that as a motivation. That’s fine.”