By Adam Brady (firstname.lastname@example.org)
ANAHEIM – There will be a Game 7 and it promises to be a beauty.
In a game that ended with players from both teams throwing punches – including a surprising bare-knuckle bout between All-Stars Scott Niedermayer and Pavel Datsyuk – the Ducks held on for a tense 2-1 victory over the Red Wings in Game 6 of the Western Conference Semifinals at Honda Center.
|Hiller shut out the Red Wings for the first 57 1/2 minutes and had 38 saves in the Game 6 victory.
Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry paced the Ducks with goals in the second period, and Anaheim withstood a late charge with the help of goalie Jonas Hiller to keep their grip on a one-goal lead in an anxious final two minutes.
Hiller was perfect on the night until a power play goal by Johan Franzen with 2:25 left in the game to cut the Anaheim lead to just a goal. Following an interference penalty on Andrew Ebbett, Jiri Hudler made a feed from the low right wing circle across the crease to Franzen, who punched it into the open net.
Detroit tried feverishly to get the tying goal with their net empty for an extra attacker in the closing minute, but the Ducks defense and Hiller wouldn’t allow it. Hiller made the last of his 38 saves with two seconds remaining, on a desperation one-timer by Pavel Datsyuk that Hiller punched away with the blocker.
The sound of the horn gave way to a melee in the corner of the rink, where several Ducks and Wings got involved and Niedermayer and Datsyuk rained punches on each other in a sea of gloves, helmets, sticks and orange towels thrown by fans. When the dust cleared, eight penalties totaling 36 minutes were given to both teams, and Todd Marchant was tagged with a game misconduct.
"There was a lot going on," Niedermayer said. "I don’t know how it all started. The next thing you know, my gloves are off. That doesn’t happen too often. I didn’t even know who it was at first. I took a couple of punches to the face. I guess after a couple, I figured I’ll try a couple."
When it was finally broken up, Hiller was interviewed by a rinkside TV reporter after being named the No. 1 star of the game and could hardly hear himself speak over the sound of his name being chanted by many in the sellout crowd of 17,174.
"I think everybody knew what today’s game was about," Hiller said of a Ducks team that was coming off a lackluster 4-1 defeat in Detroit in Game 5. "We had to win and we had to show a better effort than the last two games. That is what we did and why we won."
The Ducks improved to 6-0 all time in Game 6s at home, 7-1 overall.
"We knew we could be better than we were the last two games," Niedermayer said. "There was no question about that. I think we were tonight. We’ve been around the game awhile."
Anaheim broke open a scoreless tie 2:21 into the second period, when Getzlaf got his fourth goal of the postseason on the power play. Scott Niedermayer one-timed a shot on net from the point, and it bounded off goalie Chris Osgood into the crease. Defenseman Jonathan Ericsson knocked it off Osgood and Getzlaf chipped the loose puck into the net.
|Perry's goal off a Getzlaf assist in the second gave the Ducks a huge 2-0 advantage.
The Ducks gave the Red Wings some opportunities for the equalizer, taking penalties from Todd Marchant (interference) and Andrew Ebbett (cross checking) near the midpoint of the period. But a tireless Ducks penalty kill, with Hiller right behind them, held Detroit at bay.
Seconds after a couple of Hiller stops, the Ducks increased their lead to 2-0 courtesy of the top line of Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan. Each got a point as Ryan got the puck to Getzlaf on the point, and he wristed a shot toward the net that Perry barely got a piece of with his stick to deflect it through.
That turned out to be all the Ducks would need, as they carried that two-goal lead almost to the end of the game, with Franzen spoiling a Hiller shutout with that power play tally. They poured it on throughout the period, outshooting Anaheim 18-6 after the Ducks carried a 22-21 shot advantage into the third.
"Detroit has a very skilled hockey club and if you don’t stay close to your check, they are going to move the puck and move themselves," said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle. "If there is a team that does it better, I’d like to know where it is. If you don’t stay close to your check, they can make you look awfully foolish. I thought we played fairly neat and tidy."
With the series tied at three games apiece, Game 7 comes Thursday in Detroit at 4 p.m. Pacific.
"We showed the first two games that if we play our game there, we always have a chance to win," Hiller said. "That is all we can do in the next game. We’re going to try and you never know. Game 7s are always special. There is a lot of experience in here."
Added Niedermayer, "It’s exciting. What a great thrill to be playing a great hockey club like that in a Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. I’m looking forward to it."
With tonight’s win, the Ducks improved their record to 8-5 in elimination games. All-time, the club ranks second in the NHL in win percentage in elimination contests. Below are the top four:
Best Record in Elimination Games (All-Time)
Team Record Win Percentage
Minnesota 7-3 .700
Anaheim 8-5 .615
NY Islanders 26-17 .605
Colorado 9-18 .514
Thursday’s contest will mark the Ducks’ fourth Game 7 contest in franchise history. The club has a lifetime record of 2-1 in Game 7 (Beat CGY in 2006 and PHX in 1997, lost to NJ in 2003).
Anaheim now has a lifetime postseason record of 7-1 in the sixth game of a series including a perfect 6-0 at Honda Center. The Ducks all-time postseason record at home climbs to 31-16.
With a goal and an assist tonight (1-1=2), Ryan Getzlaf recorded his seventh multiple-point game of the postseason. He has recorded points in nine of the last 10 contests (3-13=16). His 4-14=18 total points are tied for second in the NHL (with PIT’s Crosby) behind only WSH’s Ovechkin. Getzlaf continues to lead the league in assists.
Jonas Hiller stopped 38-of-39 shots for his seventh career postseason win. In 12 career postseason games (all in 2009), he has stopped 458-of-484 shots for a .946 SV% and 2.09 GAA (26 GA/747 MIN).
Corey Perry recorded his fourth multiple-point game of the postseason with a goal and an assist this evening (1-1=2). He has collected 3-2=5 points in the last three games and 7-5=12 points in the last nine.
With tonight’s assist, Scott Niedermayer has collected 2-2=4 points in the last five games and 2-5=7 points in the last eight. He now ranks tied for second in scoring among defensemen for the postseason (3-6=9).
Tonight’s attendance was 17,174, a sellout.
20:00 - END OF GAME - The Ducks hang on over the final seconds to secure a 2-1 victory and send this series back to Detroit for Game 7.
20:00 - ANA Penalties – Corey Perry
, 2 min. roughing, 5 min. fighting and 10 min. misconduct, Scott Niedermayer 5 min. fighting, Todd Marchant
, game misconduct, Ryan Getzlaf
, 2 min. hooking and 2 min. roughing and DET Penalties, Pavel Datsyuk, 5 min. fighting and Brian Rafalski, 5 min. fightingBig-time fisticuffs after the horn, with a couple of undercards, but the premier bout is Scott Niedermayer dropping the gloves and throwing punches with Datysyuk. They both land a couple of blows as they fight in a sea of hockey equipment and orange towels thrown by fans. Seconds after it's broken up, THERE WILL BE A GAME 7 flashes on the screen and the crowd goes crazy.
19:58 - AS the Ducks try to run out the clock, the puck ends up on Hossa's stick, and he fires a one-timer that Hiler saves for his 38th of the night.
19:20 - Osgood went back in net off the timeout, but he heads to the bench again.
19:08 - Timeout Detroit with 52.3 left.
19:05 - Stomach in knots.
18:45 - Empty net for Detroit.
18:04 - The Ducks get a break as Hossa jumps offside on an odd-man rush.
17:35 - DETROIT GOAL (POWER PLAY) - JOHAN FRANZEN - The Ducks are out of position as they can't quite push the puck out fo there zone. Jiri Hudler ends up with it at the bottom of the right wing circle, where he makes a great feed across the crease to Franzen, who bats it in. It's 2-1 Ducks with 2:25 left.
16:43 - ANA Penalty - Andrew Ebbett, 2 min. interference. Ebbett runs into Helm after chasing a bad pass by Rob Niedermayer, who made a big mistake by not dumping and chasing the puck into the corner.
15:53 - Kick save and a beauty by Hiller on a Stuart point shot.
15:30 - Datsyuk fires a shot from the right wing over the cage. Still without a goal in this series.
Very, very quiet Detroit contingent in the building tonight.
14:35 - Timeout on the ice after the puck is frozen under Miller in the corner behind the Detroit net. We've got 5:25 left.
13:00 - Ryan takes a hard Beauchemin shot off his leg and he hobbles to the bench. He's hurting even more now.
12:45 - Getzlaf and Ryan get on a 2-on-1, but Getzlaf's pass to Ryan is beyond his reach. Ryan gets is back and slings a shot from the slot that Osgood saves and holds.
12:41 - Selanne heads up left wing, cuts to the middle and fires a slap shot that Osgood extends out to glove.
11:46 - We're 4-on-4 for 20 more seconds, then the Ducks get about a minute of power play time.
11:01 - DET Penalty - Brian Rafalski, 2 min. holding. As Perry tries to fight his way up the ice out of his own zone, Rafalski is whistled for the hold. I'll admit, not the best call in the world and Rafalski goes balistic, charging after the official.
10:22 - Hiller steps out to make a nice stop as Filppula has no one in front of him right in front.
10:05 - ANA Penalty - Bench minor, 2 min. too many men on the ice. Not at all good for the Ducks, as their power play is wiped out.
10:00 - Hiller literally makes a save with just his head on a shorthanded shot from the slot by Hossa.
9:07 - DET Penalty - Mikael Samuelsson, 2 min. interference. Marchant tries to chase the puck toward Rafalski at the blue line and Samuelsson steps into his path and knocks him down. Tremendous call.
7:20 - Ducks get a break as the puck is bouncing around Hiller and the Wings get a couple of point blank shots off.
The Lakers score goes up on the video board during the timeout. They're beating the Rockets handily. Whoopdeedoo. I think I read about that on whocares.com.
5:40 - Samuelsson tries to sneak the puck in from behind the net, but Hiller says, "Nuh uh."
4:43 - Ryan with a shot from a sharp angle that Osgood saves. He may be hurting, but Ryan has four shots tonight.
Some idiot atetempts to throw an octopus on the ice, where it ends up in several pieces by the time it gets there. Hopefully that's a sign.
3:47 - Zetterberg a shot from a low angle, which Hiller holds around the chest area.
Scoring change on the Ducks' first goal, as Perry gets the first assist (see below).
0:00 - Off we go in the third.
20:00 - Phenomenal period for the home team, as they get goals from Getzlaf and Perry to take a 2-0 lead going into the third.
17:35 - ANAHEIM GOAL - COREY PERRY - Getzlaf holds the puck on the left wing just inside the blue line and wrists it on net, where Perry is standing at the top fo the crease to just get a stick on it and deflect it home. It's 2-0 Ducks.
17:20 - Filppula just barely whiffs on a one-timer from the top of the crease off a Hossa pass.
17:10 - Hiller kicks away two Detroit slap shots in a manner of seconds. On his game so far in this one.
16:12 - Hiller covers the puck with two hands, then continues to hold it there like it's a mouse he's afraid is going to scurry away. Even when the Power Players start onto the ice during the timeout, he's still holding it there. Finally he lets it go and heads to the bench.
Nice chant of "Let's go Du-ucks."
15:50 - It's getting a little dicey in front of the Anaheim net. The Ducks need to tilt the ice a bit.
14:04 - Another dodged bullet for Anaheim. Loving their penalty kill right now. Just wish they didn't have to use it so often.
13:26 - Lidstrom rips yet another slap shot that Hiller stops and holds between the leg pads. Big stop for the kid.
12:04 - ANA Penalty - Andrew Ebbett, 2 min. cross checking. Ebbett takes a big hit from Helm behind the net and doesn't like it, so he retaliates with a cross check that knocks Helm back down to the ice. The official is right there to call it on Ebbett.
11:15 - Big kill for the boys in black, as Hiller chips in with a couple of big stops on Lidstrom slap shots. The crowd likes it.
10:05 - Scott Niedermayer and Mike Brown pair up to do a nice job to get the puck out of the zone. Brown chases it all the way into the Detroit end, allowing the Ducks to take some time with it.
9:15 - ANA Penalty - Todd Marchant
, 2 min. interference. Marchant is jockeying with Datsyuk up the wall away from the puck and the official doesn't like it. I don't feel like that was a great call.
8:20 - Helm gets some room on a 2-on-1 and looks ready to shoot, but Whitney flops onto his belly to poke the puck away. Great play.
7:45 - Scott Niedermayer makes a start-and-stop play behind the net that sends a chasing Darren Helm sprawling to the ice. So even when an opponent is 15 feet away, Niedermayer can skate him out of his jock.
There is a very attractive brunette girl in a redish/orange top (kind of looks like Audrina from "The Hills") waving a towel and shaking her hips that our in-house video guys seem to show during every break in the action. I'm not complaining, just mentioning.
5:09 - Carter sends the puck on net where Osgood pops out to try and control it underneath himself. Both Ebbett and Carter pounce like coyotes attacking a carcass, trying to punch the puck under Osgood, but can't do it.
Matthew Perry is shown on the video board and he immediately holds up his Ducks towel. Could he BE anymore excited?
There have been a lot of falling Red Wings in this game with no silly penalties called. That's got to be a good sign.
2:21 - ANAHEIM GOAL (POWER PLAY) - RYAN GETZLAF - Getzlaf labors up the ice following a Hiller save and drops the puck to Pronger, who swings it along the blue line to Niedermayer. The captain slings a one-timer on net deflects off Perry, then hits off Osgood into the crease. Ericsson appears to knock it off his goalie, and Getzlaf chips it into the net. Getzlaf raises both fists to the sky as the Ducks lead it 1-0.
1:41 - DET Penalty - Niklas Kronwall, 2 min. delay of game. Kronwall throws the puck over the glass after that near-miss by Ryan.
1:40 - Ryan tries a wraparound with Osgood out of the net, but jams it into the skate of Ericsson. Huge play by him.
0:40 - Selanne with a redirect on a Pronger point shot that goes just wide.
A little bit of ice trouble delayed the start of the period, as officials tried to clean it up a bit.
0:00 - Here we go in the second, the Ducks with 1:39 of power play time.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Not the prettiest opening 20 for the Ducks, even though they outshoot Detroit 12-8. It's scoreless after 1.
19:39 - DET Penalty - Valtteri Filppula, 2 min. holding. Filppula gets Ryan as he's tryiing to take the puck away from behind.
19:35 - Ryan looks like he has some room as he tries to wrap in a shot from behind the net, but loses the puck off his blade.
19:01 - Zetterberg nearly gets one, trying to squeeze the puck in from behind the net. Nice work by Hiller.
16:20 - Ryan slings a wrister past Lidstrom, and Osgood makes the stop even though he might not have completely seen it.
During the timeout, a couple is caught having a somewhat intimate moment in their seats. The girl looks up at the video board and realizes she's on there, and immediately covers her face with her orange towel.
13:40 - Awful power play for the Ducks right now. Not much going at all.
13:13 - DET Penalty - Jiri Hudler, 2 min. delay of game. Hudler flips it over the glass. Let's hope the time of the penalty means bad luck for the right guys.
The tennis balls appear to be both women tonight. My apologies if I'm wrong.
8:35 - Getzlaf fires a shot that Osgood kick-saves and the rebound comes to Ryan, who is a step slow to get his stick down to chip it in.
6:30 - Just before the penalty expires, Brookbank somehow leaves Hossa wide open at the blue line, and Hossa spins and fires a pass off the mark.
5:45 - Rafalski, playing for the first time in this series, joins the second power play unit.
5:25 - Miller takes the puck away in the slot and heads to the other end, where he takes a shot from the right wing that puzzles Osgood at first before he finally freezes it.
4:35 - ANA Penalty - Bench minor, 2 min. too many men on the ice.
4:15 - Zetterberg has two shots at the net, first on a one-timer that goes wide and again on a wraparound try that Hiller kicks away. Close call.
3:20 - Niedermayer throws a knuckleball on net through traffic and it goes just wide.
2:32 - After a big hit by Carter, Selanne makes a sick move to lose Darren Helm, but fires wide of the net.
0:00 - And we're underway in Game 6.
Starting Goaltenders - ANA Jonas Hiller
; DET Chris Osgood
Starting Skaters - ANA Chris Pronger, Scott Niedermayer, Bobby Ryan
, Corey Perry
, Ryan Getzlaf
; DET Nicklas Lidstrom, Jonathan Ericsson, Valtteri Filppula, Marian Hossa, Johan Franzen
Scratches - ANA Bret Hedican, Petri Kontiola, George Parros
, Erik Christensen, Brad Larsen, Troy Bodie
, Brett Festerling
, Brendan Mikkelson
; DET Derek Meech, Ville Leine, Chris Chelios, Darren McCarty, Kris Draper, Aaron Downey, Jakub Kindl, Sergei Kolosov, Tomas Kopecky