DETROIT – Yet again there won’t be a handshake held on the ice at Joe Louis Arena to end a team’s season.
In a mirror image of Game 2, the Detroit Red Wings lost a third period lead only to recover and beat the Anaheim Ducks in overtime, 4-3, Friday night at Joe Louis Arena.
Henrik Zetterberg scored his second goal of the night just a minute and four seconds into overtime to even the best-of-seven series with the Ducks.
Game 7 is Sunday at 10 p.m. back in Anaheim.
“You don’t have many chances to play a Game 7 throughout the course of your career,” Zetterberg said. “We just have to embrace it, have run and enjoy it. It’s a special atmosphere. It’s fun to play those games. We’re looking forward to it and play like we have been, play our system and we’ll have a good chance.”
In Game 2 in Anaheim, Detroit had a 4-1 lead early in the third period only to watch the Ducks march back and force overtime that the Wings eventually won on a goal from Gustav Nyquist.
“It’s do or die,” Zetterberg said. “It’s the last game of the series. We’ve played them six times, both teams know each other inside and out. It’s tight. There are a lot of emotions and you don’t do it often that’s why it’s so special.”
The last handshake that occurred at Joe Louis Arena was on June 12, 2009 in a loss in the Finals to Pittsburgh, 2-1.
Pavel Datsyuk and Justin Abdelkader also scored for Detroit, while Jimmy Howard made 34 saves.
Kyle Palmieri, Emerson Etem and Bobby Ryan for Anaheim and Jonas Hiller made 25 saves.
It was the first time in Detroit playoff history that four games in a single series had been decided in overtime.
After going without a goal through five games in the series, it was two of Zetterberg’s admittedly weakest shots that beat Hiller.
“Those two were kind of ugly ones, but that’s what you need in the playoffs,” Zetterberg said. “But there were a lot of people in front. When you have that and luck on your side pucks go in sometimes.”
Zetterberg’s game winner came with Abdelkader screening Hiller.
Zetterberg scored his first playoff goal of the series on the power play, 6:19 in. He took a pass from Mikael Samuelsson and did the rest, using a screen by Johan Franzen to beat Hiller on the short side.
Zetterberg now has scored at least one goal in every playoff series he has played as a Red Wing. He didn’t play in the first round of the 2011 series with Phoenix due to an injury.
Detroit looked like it has salted the game away when Abdelkader, who had just returned from a two-game suspension, hit the post to the right of Hiller and then the puck hit the Ducks goalie in the back and trickled over the line.
But then in a span of 51 seconds, Anaheim took all the good Detroit did in the third period and made it a distant memory.
Etem got the first goal, taking advantage of a turnover by Valtteri Filppula, who tried to pass the puck back behind the net and the only player there was the Ducks forward and he jammed past Howard.
Then, a trip of Kyle Quincey by Corey Perry behind the Wings’ net led to the tying goal for the Ducks. Perry was able to push a puck across the crease to Ryan for the equalizer.
“You just have to flush it out,” Zetterberg said. “That’s what we did. What’s done and done. It’s overtime and it doesn’t matter how you got there. We just had to start doing good things again and not just sit back like we did there.”
Datsyuk pulled out one of his patented dekes to net the Wings’ first goal with just a minute and 12 seconds left in the first period.
After some great work down low by the top line, Zetterberg fed a soft-backhand pass to Datsyuk from off the boards. After pulling the puck back into his body to get Ryan Getzlaf to dive in, Datsyuk got it back into the middle of his blade and backhanded a shot that Hiller never saw as Abdelkader battled in front with Sheldon Souray.
With the Ducks all over the Wings early in the second period, Howard came up with his best save of the night to rob Teemu Selanne. Soon after Etem ducked by Brendan Smith just over the Wings’ blue line, he fed a pass across to a streaking Selanne, but Howard got over to his left post and got a left pad on the redirect to keep the puck out.
Detroit’s first shot of the period didn’t come until there was 12:01 left in the middle frame.
The Ducks caught a break to tie things up just past the midway point of regulation.
The play started from a turnover at center ice by Kyle Quincey, whose pass went right to the stick of Etem. After a nice feed to Palmieri at the blue line, he rang a shot off the post and it shot right out to Smith, who accidently batted it past Howard.