ANAHEIM – In a game that had all the white-knuckle intensity you would expect of a Ducks-Red Wings playoff matchup, Anaheim outlasted its frequent postseason rival 3-1 at Honda Center in Game 1 of their Western Conference Quarterfinal series.
Teemu Selanne, looking nothing like his 42 years of age, got the go-ahead goal early in the third period, and the Ducks hung tough the rest of the way, icing it with a Francois Beauchemin empty-netter with 22.4 seconds left.
With the Ducks clinging to a one-goal lead in the waning moments and Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard on the bench for an extra attacker, Daniel Winnik won the draw in the right wing circle. Ryan Getzlaf got the puck back to Beauchemin, who pitched it dead center into the empty net from 180 feet away. A sellout crowd of 17,200, already on its feet during the tense final moments, erupted as Beauchemin’s shot hit the back of the net.
“That was pretty much what we were expecting," Selanne said. "You know how good they are and you have to play 60 minutes well. It started from everybody. Everybody did what they had to do."
Selanne gave the Ducks the lead 1:29 into the third period on a power play that carried over from the second following a Jakub Kindl delay of game. On the man advantage, Ben Lovejoy passed up a shot from the point to feed Selanne in the left circle, and Selanne got enough on the one-timer to beat Howard. It was the 42nd playoff goal of the 42-year-old Selanne's prolific career.
"I know him well enough, you can tell when he’s got his legs early," said Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau. "The puck was following him a little bit tonight. I didn’t know if he was going to score, but I knew when he was on the ice, there was going to be a chance. I was happy for him.”
The Ducks drew the first deafening roar from the crowd on a Nick Bonino goal on the power play halfway through the first period.
Just four seconds after a Jordin Tootoo cross-checking penalty, Cam Fowler tossed the puck on net, where Bonino tipped it through from the slot. That brought an already-pumped crowd alive as the other Ducks mobbed Bonino against the glass.
“I thought it was a good hockey game for 60 minutes," Boudreau said. "Special teams were the difference, I think. We got lucky on two and they got lucky on one. Otherwise it was a pretty even game.”
Detroit drew even with 3:55 left in the period, also on the power play, with a Dan Cleary goal with the Ducks trying to quell a two-man advantage. Just as Getzlaf escaped from the box, Jakub Kindl tried a shot from the lower left circle that deflected off Dan Cleary and got past Jonas Hiller.
That was the only blemish on Hiller’s night, as the Anaheim goalie saved 21 of 22 Red Wings shots.
“We wanted to start strong especially at home," Hiller said. "We wanted to prove that we’re still strong [at home] and it was definitely important to get that one, and have some confidence. It’s easier to start with a win in the series.”
The two teams clash again two nights from now in Game 2 at Honda Center.
"It was a good, solid effort, but it’s just one game," Selanne said. "We’ll enjoy it a little bit, but we have to move on.”
Anaheim improved its all-time playoff record to 55-43 tonight (.561 win percentage). In addition, the club is now 12-14 vs. Detroit in all-time postseason play (7-6 at Honda Center).
The Ducks are now 10-9 all-time in Game 1 situations.
Tonight marked Teemu Selanne’s 10th career playoff GWG (eighth with Anaheim, last: In series-clinching Game 6 of the CQF, Apr. 27, 2009 vs. SJ). The goal was the 33rd of his postseason career as a Duck (42nd overall). In addition, it was the 14th playoff PPG as a Duck (18th career). He has scored a franchise-leading 33-28=61 points in 78 postseason contests as a Duck.
Stopping 21-of-22 shots tonight, Jonas Hiller earned his eighth career postseason win. His .943 cumulative postseason SV% leads all active NHL goaltenders (515-of-546).
Francois Beauchemin scored his ninth career postseason goal tonight, moving past Scott Niedermayer to become the franchise leader in playoff goals by a Ducks defenseman (9-12=21 points in 62 career playoff games (all with Ducks)).
Assisting on Beauchemin’s goal, Ryan Getzlaf’s assist was the franchise-leading 36th of his playoff career (18-36=54 points in 63 games).
Nick Bonino scored his first playoff goal in the fifth postseason contest of his career.
Tonight’s attendance was 17,200, a sellout including standing room only.
20:00 - END OF GAME - This one's over. What a win.
19:37 - ANAHEIM GOAL (EMPTY NET) - FRANCOIS BEAUCHEMIN - Winnik wins the draw, and Beauchemin slings it into the open net from the bottom of the circle in his own end with 22.4 left. This one is over, as the crowd goes berserk.
18:32 - Ducks take timeout with 26.2 left. Eye of the Tiger as they come out for the big draw. My hands are shaking.
18:32 - As they delay dropping the puck, an octopus flies onto the ice. That guy's getting kicked out.
18:32 - Beauchemin clears it off the glass and it's all the way down to the other end. Icing with 26.2 left and a draw in the Anaheim end.
18:52 - Fans on their feet as the Ducks take the draw in their end with 1:08 left.
18:52 - Detroit takes timeout as Howard will stay on the bench for the extra attacker.
18:52 - Hiller somehow snatches the puck out of the air right near the left post off an Adbdelkader shot from in deep. Whoa.
18:30 - Howard off.
17:51 - Ducks don't get the PP goal that would have put this game away.
15:51 - DET Penalty - Valteri Filppula, 2 min. hooking. Steckel fights to gain the puck and Filppula hooks him from behind.
15:05 - Cogliano blatantly tripped by Kronwall as he tries to get to a headman pass and somehow there is no call. Crowd sees the replay and is dumbfounded.
13:45 - Cleary's shot from a bad angle is stopped by Hiller, and he's lucky to find it somewhere in his equipment.
13:38 - Hiller fights off a Franzen shot from the slot, then is able to get the whistle in a huge pileup in front, losing his mask in the process.
11:47 - Bonino feeds to Palmieri on the wing and he tries to jam it in as he crashes the net. Howard doesn't realize it's under him near the right post as the whistle finally blows. They go to the replay to see if it might have gone in, but nothing shows that it did.
7:40 - Getzlaf sweeps away a dangerous puck in the crease after another Hiller stop. Detroit with some chances in the last few minutes.
6:30 - Hiller with a big kick save on a hard shot that came out of nowhere in a crowd in the slot.
6:19 - Hiller snatches a shot from the circle with flair.
5:19 - Souray with a rocket from the point that travels through traffic, and almost gets all the way through.
1:29 - ANAHEIM GOAL (POWER PLAY) - TEEMU SELANNE - Lovejoy thinks about shooting from the point, but slides it over to Selanne in the left circle, and he one-times it past Howard on the stick side. Crowd goes nuts and it's 2-1 Ducks.
0:00 - Here we go in the third, with the Ducks on the PP for 1:42.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Neither team finds the net (though Ducks had some opportunities) and it's tied 1-1 going into the third. Ducks with 1:42 of power play time when we come back.
19:40 - DET Penalty - Jakub Kindl - 2 min. delay of game. From the circle in his own end, Kindl flips it over the glass. Crowd knows right away. Power play with 18.9 seconds left.
18:30 - Fowler extremely active in the offensize zone tonight.
16:30 - Selanne sprints to a loose puck and backhands just wide. "Awwwww" from the crowd.
15:01 - Ducks kill another one.
13:01 - ANA Penalty - Corey Perry, 2 min. goaltender interference. Perry goes hard to the net and is denied, jumping past Howard in the process. Howard goes tumbling backwards and Perry gets the penalty. Howard sold it a bit, but there was some contact.
12:30 - Winnik goes belly down to keep a puck alive, then Cogliano fires it into Howard's gut. That line with Koivu continues to work.
11:40 - Etem with a hit, then Beauchemin with a hit.
10:10 - Ducks can't generate enough on that power play and we're 5 on 5 again.
8:10 - DET Penalty - Joakim Andersson, 2 min. interference. Andersson takes Selanne down with the shoulder as 8 chases the puck toward the wall. Ducks on the PP.
7:10 - Ducks clear it as the penalty expires. Crowd likes it.
5:10 - ANA Penalty - Nick Bonino, 2 min. holding. Bonino given the penalty for getting tangled with Nyquist in the corner.
3:50 - Perry with a bid as he gets in front of the D on the left wing.
3:45 - Beauchemin with a nice hit on Abdelkader. Crowd likes it.
2:56 - Winnik slings it on net from the left wing, but Howard is there.
0:00 - Crowd cheers after learning the Kings lots in OT, and we're off and running in the second.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Bonino gets the Ducks on the board, but one off Cleary's head ties it.
19:30 - Crowd wants an interference call on a hit to Winnik, but though close, it didn't warrant one.
16:05 - DETROIT GOAL (POWER PLAY) - DAN CLEARY - Just as Getzlaf gets out of the box for his penalty, Kindl takes a shot from the low left circle that hits Cleary in the head and bounds past Hiller. Cleary breaks the Ducks' hearts again, and it's 1-1.
15:43 - ANA Penalty - Daniel Winnik, 2 min. hooking. Just when the Ducks appear to get out of it, Winnik gets 2.
15:45 - Ducks escape as a couple bouncing pucks go under Wings sticks.
14:01 - ANA Penalty - Ryan Getzlaf, 2 min. tripping. Getzlaf goes after a loose puck and gets whistled.
10:24 - ANAHEIM GOAL (POWER PLAY) - NICK BONINO - Mere seconds after a faceoff win, Fowler lofts a shot from the blue line that Bonino tips past Howard from the slot. Ducks and fans go ballistic as Bonino's teammates chase him to the glass area to give him a bear hug. It's 1-0 Ducks.
10:20 - DET Penalty - Jordin Tootoo, 2 min. interference. Tootoo gets aggressive around the net and drops Cogliano. Should have had the penalty earlier, and gets this one.
10:15 - Koivu appears to be tripped by Tootoo and there's no call. Crowd not happy about that at all.
8:10 - Filppula is alone in front, but Hiller robs him with a right pad save. Big.
4:30 - Abdelkader thinks he has a path to the net, but Beauchemin feels otherwise.
3:15 - Cogliano gets some room on right wing and fires off Howard's mask.
2:31 - Ducks establishing the forecheck and hitting early and our first stoppage comes when the Wings ice it.
0:00 - And we're underway in Game 1. The goosebumps will go away eventually.
Opening video starts with clips of great moments in Ducks playoff history, includes Wild Wing dropping from the rafters and a great montage of animated, then real, Ducks images and highlights. All the while, fans are waving their glowsticks in the dark. Pretty awesome.
Starters in bold/italics.