ANAHEIM, Calif. – Detroit coach Mike Babcock didn’t call a timeout while the Anaheim Ducks obliterated the Red Wings’ three-goal lead in the third period, believing a break would only make his younger players even more nervous.
Better to let them learn how to survive playoff pressure on their own, Babcock thought.
With help from an ill-timed penalty by Anaheim’s Sheldon Souray, the Red Wings figured it out and evened the series.
Gustav Nyquist scored a power-play goal at 1:21 of overtime, giving Detroit a 5-4 victory in Game 2 on Thursday night.
Johan Franzen scored two goals and Damien Brunner had his first Stanley Cup playoff goal and two assists for the Red Wings, who survived their third-period collapse with a timely goal from Nyquist.
“We knew we had to get back to playing hard in the overtime, and we did,” Nyquist said. “We knew the playoffs were on the line.”
Game 3 is Saturday night at Joe Louis Arena.
Bobby Ryan scored the tying goal with 2:22 left in regulation for the Ducks, who also got goals from captain Ryan Getzlaf and Kyle Palmieri while erasing Detroit’s 4-1 lead with a phenomenal surge in the final minutes.
But Souray took a slashing penalty in front of his net with 38 seconds left in regulation after an exchange with Justin Abdelkader, and Nyquist was left unchecked in the left faceoff circle for his goal with just 2 seconds remaining in the power play. The 23-year-old Swede from the University of Maine was in his sixth career playoff game.
“I think it’s a great learning experience,” Babcock said. “You’ve got the win, and you stop playing. … You’re not settling them down, you’re putting gas on the fire. What are you going to do about it? You’re hoping your big guys are going to go out there and make a play.”
Ducks fans loudly booed the call against Souray, who joined Anaheim this season after a well-travelled career. He has been among the Ducks’ best defencemen with his booming slap shot and physical two-way play.
“I didn’t really see anything,” Souray said of the final penalty. “It was a tough call. Tough way to end it. We battled back hard. We didn’t start the game and periods as hard as they did, and they capitalized on that.”
Jimmy Howard made 28 saves for Detroit, which silenced the Anaheim crowd with two goals in the first 4:20 of the Red Wings’ third victory in four appearances at Honda Center this season. Abdelkader scored in the opening minute and Pavel Datsyuk had two assists.
But the Red Wings also lost rookie defenceman Danny DeKeyser for the season with a broken thumb.
“He’s done,” Babcock said of DeKeyser, who played a standout game before apparently getting hurt in the third period.
Jonas Hiller stopped 27 shots and Saku Koivu scored for the second-seeded Ducks, who struggled through the first two periods before rallying in the hair-raising third. Ryan and Palmieri both had a goal and an assist in the third, and Koivu added an assist.
“When you do come back to tie it, and (then) lose it, is a little more disappointing,” Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said. “I was hoping it would get done before overtime, because I knew they would gain their composure again, because the last 10 minutes (of regulation), they lost it. They were fortunate starting (overtime) on the power play, and that was it.”
Until the final period, Detroit had bounced back impressively from the Ducks’ 3-1 series-opening victory. Babcock put veteran Todd Bertuzzi in his lineup for the first time since Feb. 7, replacing Jordin Tootoo, but otherwise kept the same lineup—and the Wings responded with all the poise expected from a team with 22 straight playoff appearances.
While the Wings executed, the Ducks struggled until their electric third-period rally. Game 1 hero Teemu Selanne made an egregious turnover leading to Brunner’s goal, and Getzlaf passed up a breakaway shot in the third period for an ill-advised pass on a play that exemplified the Ducks’ struggles.
But the Ducks rallied when Getzlaf scored on a shot with his back to the net with 12:10 to play. Palmieri then scored his first career playoff goal moments after a power play ended, firing a short shot that Howard missed with his glove with 7:29 left.
Ryan nearly scored with 5 1/2 minutes to play, but his deflection in front just caught the outside post. He didn’t miss on his next chance when Cam Fowler found him driving to the net with a perfect pass for a quick shot past Howard, setting off a deafening celebration.
“I think we finally settled into a pretty good rhythm there,” Ryan said. “We didn’t do enough, though. … We gave them second and third chances to come up with the puck, and they’re a team that capitalizes.”
The Ducks attracted another large, towel-waving crowd to Honda Center after the festive atmosphere in their opener. But many fans weren’t yet in their seats when Abdelkader found space near the blue line and beat Hiller with a deceptive wrist shot just 48 seconds into the game.
NOTES: The 38-year-old Bertuzzi missed nearly three months with back pain and nerve problems affecting his right leg, even forcing him to walk with a cane at times. … The Ducks have won the series all nine times in club history after winning the first game. … Babcock considered putting veteran Mikael Samuelsson back into the lineup, but held off. The member of the Triple Gold Club—an Olympic gold medal, a world championship and a Stanley Cup title—missed 41 games this season with injuries, but is healthy again.