After splitting the first two games in Anaheim, the two teams traveled to Detroit to square off at the Joe for games 3 and 4. The first period saw it’s fair share of powerplays, but the game remained tied after 20 minutes of play. The intensity started to ramp up in the second, and Justin Abdelkader put a vicious hit on Toni Lydman. Abdelkader received a 5 minute major for roughing and a game misconduct that would eventually turn into a two game suspension from Brendan Shanahan. The Ducks scored almost immediately on the powerplay. Nick Bonino scored for the Ducks to give them the 1-0 lead. The score would remain the same for the remainder of the second period. 6 minutes into the third period, Damien Brunner turned the puck over in his own zone and Ryan Getzlaf avoided the poke check of Jimmy Howard and scored a shorthanded goal to put the Ducks up by 2. Emerson Etem and Matt Beleskey both scored in the third period as well on the way to a 4-0 win for the Ducks. The Ducks controlled the game, and ultimately, Detroit’s youth, and inconsistent offense showed as they went 0-4 on the powerplay. The Ducks gained a 2-1 lead in the series.
Game four kicked off in Detroit on Monday night and it did not disappoint. This was one of the better hockey games I have watched in a long time. A game full of back and forth fast paced action. Matt Beleskey scored five minutes into the game to give the Ducks a 1-0 lead, and the momentum to grab a 3-1 lead. However, Jimmy Howard stood tall in net for the Wings and kept them in the game making numerous game saving stops. The game stayed in favor of the Ducks 1-0 lead until the third period, despite Detroit’s constant pressure on Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller. Brendan Smith finally snuck one passed Hiller a little over a minute into the third period. The shot deflected off of two different Ducks on the way to the net. Dave Steckel answered back for the Ducks with a little over 9 minutes remaining in regulation. However, the stars would shine for the Wings. Pavel Datsyuk, who played a fantastic game all night long, wristed a bullet over Jonas Hiller to tie the game at 2.
The game went to overtime, and the Ducks and Wings went back and forth on each other, until finally Joakim Andersson made a pass from his own blueline to a streaking Gustav Nyquist. Nyquist couldn’t get the puck from his skates to his stick cleanly, and had to just jab the puck at Hiller, Damien Brunner was coming down the right side, and was right there for the rebound and pounded it home for the 3-2 overtime winner.
With the series tied at 2 a piece, the teams head back to Anaheim for game 5 on Wednesday night. The Wings are 3-1 in Anaheim this season and look to break the series tie and put the pressure on Anaheim in game 6 in Detroit. The Ducks have been the better team in the series, they won 3-1 in game one, came back from being down 3 and lost in overtime, they won a very decisive game 3 4-0 in Detroit, and they were ahead for most of game 4 until Datsyuk tied the game with 6:30 left in the third. Detroit needs to keep their head in the game, and continue playing like they did in game 4. I don’t think they’re going to be able to continue coming back in games. It’s been a great series, and I don’t expect anything to change. Game 5 is the most important game the two teams have played thus far, and it is sure to be a great game to watch Wednesday night.
Topics: 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, Anaheim Ducks, Brendan Shanahan, Brendan Smith, Corey Perry, Damien Brunner, Detroit Red Wings, Emerson Etem, Game 3, Game 4, Gustav Nyquist, Jimmy Howard, Joakim Andersson, Jonas Hiller, Justin Abdelkader, Matt Beleskey, Nick Bonino, Pavel Datsyuk, Ryan Getzlaf, Toni Lydman