DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings finally threw more at Anaheim Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller Monday night at Joe Louis Arena.
And it finally paid off.
Damien Brunner chipped home a loss puck in overtime to lift the Wings to a 3-2 decision over the Ducks to even the best-of-seven Western Conference quarterfinal series at two games apiece.
Gustav Nyquist had the original shot that Hiller got a left pad on.
“Gus did an unbelievable job taking the puck out of mid-air,” Brunner said. “He’s a speedy guy. He got both defenders turned and he chipped the puck on net, and obviously I had a wide open net. It felt pretty good.”
The goal was Brunner’s second of the playoffs.
“It goes down in our own end and we make a great breakout pass,” Nyquist said of the game-winning goal. “It goes to (Joakim Andersson) and he sees me in the middle trying to split the D and he makes a great pass. I get the pass and it kind of jumps ahead of me and I kind of chase it down and get a shot on net somewhere and go in the corner from there.
“I don’t really know what happens, but Brunner is standing there with a big smile on his face so I guess he put it in,” Nyquist added.
Hiller, who made 46 saves, looked he could have come out and poked the puck away before Nyquist got onto it, but decided to stay back in his net.
“I kind of wanted to try and do some fakes to get him down a little bit because it’s tough when two guys are chasing down from behind to get it up,” Nyquist said. “You’re just hoping to bounce it in our get a rebound like we did.”
Game 5 is Wednesday night in Anaheim.
Brendan Smith and Pavel Datsyuk also scored for Detroit, while Jimmy Howard made 31 saves.
The Ducks got goals from Matt Beleskey and Emerson Etem.
“The game was important, but more important is now it’s a best-of-three,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “As low as we were the other night we’re as high as that tonight. That’s the playoffs. We talked about that the other night. It’s about will, determination and mental toughness. We have to go to their barn and steal another game.”
Detroit was playing without Justin Abdelkader, who was suspended for two games on Sunday for a check to the head of Ducks defenseman Toni Lydman on Saturday. Abdelkader will also miss Game 5.
Trailing 1-0 to start the third, the Wings came out all over Anaheim and finally got one past Hiller after he had shut Detroit out in five straight periods.
Smith, who didn’t register a goal in the regular season, fired a shot from the point that deflected off a pair of Ducks in front of Hiller, who didn’t flinch at all on the shot that he never saw.
The shot was the Wings’ 33rd of the game.
Smith is the third Red Wing to register his first career playoff goal in this series.
“It’s unbelievable to see all these young guns come out and play really solid,” Smith said. “You got Nyquist the other night gets the game winner and then Bruno tonight. You see (Brian) Lashoff step in and not even miss a heartbeat. I think he hadn’t played a game in quite some time and the other night and tonight he has been unbelievable for us.”
Howard kept it tied, robbing Ryan Getzlaf with the blocker after he split the defense moments later.
“Hiller definitely played a great game,” Howard said. “He was tremendous for them down at that end. I knew I had to be better. I haven’t been good the past few games. I felt like I had a lot to prove, not only to my coaches, but to my teammates as well.”
However, the Ducks were able to regain their lead nine minutes later after Wings defenseman Brian Lashoff collided with Howard.
Kyle Palmieri took the original shot that hit Howard high and after the collision with Lashoff, Steckel had the whack at the open net to put the completely across the goal line.
Johan Franzen thought he had the equalizer, but after a review determined the puck never crossed the line, Datsyuk came right back down and ripped a wrist shot over Hiller’s right shoulder to get the Wings back equal with Anaheim.
“He’s good,” Babcock said. “We need (Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg) to be great for us in Game 5.”
The Ducks got on the board first just five minutes in after Smith and Kyle Quincey got tangled up at the side of the Wings’ goal on a hard dump in by Beleskey.
Andrew Cogliano dug the puck out at the side of Smith’s skate and fed it to Beleskey, who beat Howard after grabbing his own rebound off his first shot.
Niklas Kronwall did what he could to try and sway the momentum back in the Wings’ favor when he leveled Palmieri with a clean check, leading with his backside, at center ice. The hit drew a crowd as play continued, but no penalties were handed out.
Detroit threw a lot in Hiller’s direction in the first period outshooting them 13-8 after 20 minutes, a number of the chances were quality ones.
The last half of the second period was owned by the Ducks.
With eight minutes left in the period, Perry had a golden opportunity to put the Ducks up 2-0 after taking a feed from Steckel. Looking at half a wide open net, Perry fired the puck high and out of play.
Moments earlier, Todd Bertuzzi made a backhand pass in his own zone that went right on the stick of Daniel Winnik in the slot, but Howard made a quick right pad save to keep the Wings’ deficit at one.
With just under five minutes left in the second period, Howard got enough of a backhand shot off the stick of Cogliano as he streaked through the center of the ice after taking a nice feed from Winnik.
Then, Emerson Etem hit the post as he battled with Kronwall on his way to the crease.
The Wings’ best chance of the period came off a rebound that Zetterberg got a blade on, but Luca Sbisa got a piece the Wings forward’s stick to send his shot high and wide.