ANAHEIM, Calif. – In the end, it was the penalty-killing unit that helped the Detroit Red Wings end their road trip on a high note.
Defenceman Brad Stuart scored twice and the Red Wings killed off two Anaheim power plays in the final 5:46 after squandering nearly all of a three-goal lead in a 4-2 victory over the Ducks on Sunday night.
Stuart sealed it when he banked the puck into an empty net off the right boards from the Detroit zone with 48 seconds to play.
Henrik Zetterberg and Johan Franzen had goals, and Pavel Datsyuk had two assists after breaking out of a 12-game goal drought with a pair against the Los Angeles Kings in a 4-1 win on Saturday.
Jimmy Howard made 32 saves, helping Detroit complete the Southern California sweep and earn a split of a four-game trip after five straight road losses.
“It was a big win, but I think we would have drawn it up a little differently,” Stuart said. “We got off to a good start and kind of let them back in it, but Howard was big for us and made some big saves. We got some good penalty kills and were able to hold on. At the end of the day, we got the two points, and that’s all you can ask for.”
Saku Koivu and Teemu Selanne scored for the Ducks, who have won only two of their last 15 games—a stretch that includes an overtime loss and three more in shootouts.
Bobby Ryan, who beat Howard with a penalty shot in overtime the last time the Red Wings came to Anaheim on March 2, had two goals disallowed in the second period—one by replay, the other by a delayed penalty against teammate Devante Smith-Pelly for cross-checking Niklas Kronwall.
“They’re a hard-working team and they make a goaltender’s life tough, but our guys did a good job of helping out in front of me,” Howard said.
“It was a gutsy effort all the way around, with the way the guys were blocking shots and getting sticks in the lanes. You could see the work ethic out there. Guys sacrificed themselves out there, and I just sat back there and tried to give us a chance.”
Koivu got Anaheim on the board with 8:36 left in the second period.
The Ducks thought they had another goal about 90 seconds later when Ryan Getzlaf took an off-balance wrist shot from the left point that hit linemate Corey Perry near the crease, and Ryan poked the bouncing puck toward the goal-line. But Howard clamped his glove on it, and play continued before the referees went to video replay during the next play stoppage and confirmed that Ryan’s shot did not go in.
“When you look at the (overhead) replay, I guess there’s no way you can overturn it because you’re looking down on it and the glove’s all you see,” Ryan said. “Perry and I celebrated on the ice because part of his glove is six inches behind what we thought was the goal-line. But the referee has to make his call on the ice, and obviously he’s in a tough spot when the puck’s in the glove and you can’t tell whether it’s over or not. But I’m counting it.”
The Red Wings were 51 seconds into a power play and leading 1-0 when the game was halted due to a brief power outage outside the arena that affected a bank of lights behind the Detroit net at 6:13 of the first period.
Both teams retreated to their respective dressing rooms along with the on-ice officials until play resumed 27 minutes later. Just 58 seconds later, Anaheim’s Brandon McMillan was assessed a penalty for—of all things—delay of game.
It was the Ducks’ second straight home game in which there was a delay because of a problem with the lights. In Thursday’s 5-3 loss to the Kings, the start of the third period was held up about 17 minutes before power was restored.
Zetterberg opened the scoring at the 1:26 mark with his fourth goal and first in seven games, and Franzen made it 2-0 just 14 seconds into the second. Anaheim defenceman Cam Fowler attempted a diagonal pass from just inside the Anaheim blue-line to Perry, but Datsyuk intercepted it near the red-line and quickly sent Franzen in all alone against Jonas Hiller for a short wrist shot that beat him to the stick side for his 10th goal.
“With the way we’ve been behind in the last few games, you start trying to make up for everything all in one shift and maybe force plays that you shouldn’t,” said Fowler, a second-year defenceman trying to compensate for the loss of the injured Lubomir Visnovsky—who led all defencemen in scoring last season.
Stuart scored at 7:10 of the second on a screened wrist shot from the right circle, with teammate Todd Bertuzzi making a nice vertical leap to get out of the way and distract Hiller at the same time.
Notes: Zetterberg has 17 goals in 30 career games against Anaheim—including his first NHL goal on Oct. 13, 2002, and a hat trick on Nov. 14, 2009. … The Red Wings outshot the Ducks 50-22 in a 5-0 victory on Nov. 5 at Joe Louis Arena. … McMillan and teammate Andrew Gordon are among seven forwards in the league who have played at least 20 games this season without scoring a goal. The others are LW Ethan Moreau (Los Angeles), C Colton Gillies (Minnesota), RW Chris Thorburn (Winnipeg), LW Cody McLeod (Colorado) and C Manny Malhotra (Vancouver). … The Ducks are 9-15-2 against Detroit since their former coach, Mike Babcock, took the Detroit job. Babcock, in his seventh season with the Red Wings, guided Anaheim to the Stanley Cup Finals in his first season as an NHL coach (2002-03). … The Red Wings and Calgary Flames are the only teams this season that haven’t been involved in a shootout.