DETROIT – In the season opener against Anaheim earlier this month, Pavel Datsyuk dropped his gloves and threw a few punches, a rare fight for the mild-mannered Russian.
When the teams met again Saturday night, he was much more in character.
Datsyuk’s goal with 12 seconds left lifted the Detroit Red Wings to a 5-4 win over the Ducks, capping an entertaining game that was cleaner than the teams’ initial meeting this season but still left plenty of hard feelings. Henrik Zetterberg had two goals and two assists for the Red Wings, who rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the second period.
Detroit pressured the Ducks for much of the last few minutes, finally breaking through when Datsyuk gathered a loose puck in the circle to the left of the net and beat goalie Curtis McElhinney with a high shot toward the right side of the goal.
“He dominated out there,” Zetterberg said. “When he makes his moves, it’s tough for the other team to defend against.”
Detroit beat Anaheim 4-0 in the season opener, a game that was so chippy even Datsyuk, a four-time Lady Byng Trophy winner, was involved in a fight. Datsyuk said there was no extra motivation Saturday.
“It’s another game,” he said. “We just want to win.”
The Ducks entered the game averaging 24 minutes 30 seconds in penalties, and they were whistled for three minors in the first 9:19. Anaheim was fortunate to escape the first period with a 1-1 tie after being outshot 14-6.
Anaheim’s Teemu Selanne was slow to get up when Detroit’s Niklas Kronwall appeared to catch him in the head with his shoulder.
“That guy is dangerous out there,” Selanne said. “One of these days somebody’s going to get him, for sure. I know that. It’s just a matter of time when. For sure his elbow hit in my face. I didn’t see the replay but I know how it felt.”
Selanne nearly had the last laugh when he scored to put the Ducks ahead 4-3 with 11:28 remaining. Selanne’s goal was his 610th, tying Bobby Hull for 15th on the NHL’s career list, but the lead didn’t hold up.
Zetterberg evened things on a deflection from the slot with 8:43 left, and Anaheim couldn’t even salvage a point by pushing the game to overtime.
McElhinney made 36 saves. He stopped 40 shots in his first start of the season for Anaheim, a 3-2 win over Philadelphia on Thursday.
“He played good for us, he made some stops,” coach Randy Carlyle said. “That’s two good games in a row. You think we could get more than one power play in this building?”
Selanne also wasn’t thrilled with the officiating crew led by referees Frederick L’Ecuyer and Dan O’Halloran.
“It is a joke,” he said. “As long as I have played here, it’s always happened. You almost know. They get at least three power plays every first period. … Like 50-50 calls are going to go in their favour. We knew. It’s not a secret for anybody. Plus, there’s a young referee who’s pumped to do the games here. The calls are going to go in their favour.”
After Anaheim’s three penalties, Detroit was called for one later in the first period, then neither team went to the box the rest of the game.
Ryan Carter and Danny Syvret scored 34 seconds apart in the second to give Anaheim a 3-1 lead. Syvret’s shot was ruled a goal after it hit the right post and ricocheted toward the upper-left corner. Replays showed it was a close call, but the goal stood after a review.
The two-goal deficit seemed to energize Detroit. Johan Franzen scored with 9:37 remaining in the period, finally jamming the puck home after twice being denied by McElhinney’s left leg. Tomas Holmstrom then tied it with a nifty deflection from high in the slot on Brad Stuart’s shot from the blue-line.
Zetterberg opened the scoring in the first on his team’s second power play, slapping a shot past McElhinney from the top of the circle. Bobby Ryan tied it for Anaheim with 22 seconds left in the first. The Ducks nearly took the lead early in the second when Saku Koivu sent a shot ringing off the right post.
Notes: Nicklas Lidstrom had three assists for the Red Wings. He has 1,054 points, moving two ahead of Denis Potvin for sixth on the NHL’s career list for defencemen. … Anaheim’s Dan Sexton went down bleeding with 6:01 left in the first when a wrist shot by Detroit’s Ruslan Salei caught him in the nose area. He didn’t return.