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Red Wings Pull Even With Ducks After Overcoming 3rd Period Collapse

In a game where five octopi were thrown onto the ice, the Red Wings stayed alive last night after a shocking turn of events.

The Wings took an early lead in the game on a Pavel Datsyuk goal before the Anaheim Ducks tied it up in the second period thanks to Kyle Palmieri.  The third period looked to be the deciding one for Detroit after Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader scored goals.  Everything was going their way.  Not a single penalty was called against them, and their powerplay looked good on their few chances.  The fans were going insane, and all the momentum in the world was on their side.

However, with 3:28 remaining in the game the Red Wings apparently took their post-game nap during the game itself.  Emerson Etem hit the snooze button on Detroit’s clock and scored an easy goal on a sleeping defense.  It was then 3-2 and that didn’t seem to wake them up, so Bobby Ryan struck again and tied the game at 3.

After the game, defenseman Jonathan Ericsson said “We had it under control, and we just let it slide with two easy goals.”

The arena went silent.  The fans were stunned.  The players were stunned.  The concession stands were stunned.  The hot dog vendors were stunned.

One would assume that the 15 minutes in the dressing room between the third period and overtime would’ve seemed to be the longest 15 minutes of many of the young Wings’ careers.  They allowed the Ducks to revive.  It gave them life after Detroit had taken total control of their game.  Howard had been stellar.

Everything got turned upside down.

Then OT started.  It was the fourth overtime game in the series, the first time Detroit has had to play four extra-stanza games in a single playoff series in the history of the franchise.  Game 5 had ended abruptly Wednesday night in overtime when the Ducks struck early.

Then Pavel Datsyuk won the biggest faceoff of this series, and allowed Henrik Zetterberg to slap it home and catch Anaheim sleeping for once.  4-3 Final.

Zetterberg and Datsyuk both had 3 points each.  Anaheim outshot Detroit 37 – 29.

Jimmy Howard had a save-percentage of .919 and Jonas Hiller had a SP of .862.

Red Wings Pull Even With Ducks After Overcoming 3rd Period Collapse
Just as Nick Bonino fell in a loss to Detroit, the Red Wings hope to emerge victorious from tomorrow’s Game 7.
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

It was Justin Abdelkader’s first game back from suspension.  He was suspended in Game 3 for a seemingly legal check on Ducks defenseman Toni Lydman.

In his post-game presser, Coach Mike Babcock said: “He makes a huge difference to his linemates.  His physical presence, even the last goal, just being at the net…And when you go to the net and occupy someone, they have more space, and that’s what he does real well, and he knows how to play without the puck.  He’s a big man.”

Heading into another elimination, must-win game in Anaheim tomorrow night, the Red Wings are feeling excited.  Abdelkader said “[Game 7s] are a lot of fun, [there’s] nothing like it.  Everyone’s very excited for it.”

Niklas Kronwall said “We just got to stick to the gameplan and eliminate our mistakes.  We don’t have to make it this interesting next game.”

Tomorrow’s lineup will likely be slightly modified.  Mikael Samuelsson did not play well, and it appears that Babcock will play Patrick Eaves in his place.  Carlo Colaiacovo, who played a solid game will likely continue playing in Brian Lashoff’s place.

Note:

In the 2003-04 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Babcock was the coach of the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.  The Mighty Ducks came into the playoffs as the 7th seed.  After sweeping the 2nd seed Detroit Red Wings, that team made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals.  The series went to Game 7, with Anaheim losing the final game.

Babcock hopes to accomplish a similar feat in Detroit this year.

Game 7: Tomorrow night at 10:00 ET on the NBC Sports Network

Follow me on Twitter @yungspork

Kevin Sporka

Kevin Sporka

Kevin Sporka is the Senior Media Analyst and Detroit Red Wings beat writer at HOHM. He is also the author of the Fantasy Hockey Fridays, In Retrospect, Milestone Monday, and Legends By the Number segments.
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