ANAHEIM – The Detroit Red Wings painted this town red nearly all weekend.
Their considerable Southern California fan base translated to lots of red-clad fans in the seats, and with 3:44 remaining Sunday, an octopus was thrown on the Honda Center ice.
Detroit did its part with a 2-1 win against the Anaheim Ducks to sweep the two-game set and hand Anaheim its first consecutive losses this season.
Jimmy Howard made 33 saves to anchor a white-knuckle finish and make Drew Miller's first-period goal stand as the game winner. Detroit survived a big push in the third period and won four straight on the road for the first time since Nov. 19-Dec. 2, 2011. They held the fifth-highest scoring team in the NHL to two goals in two games.
"I think a lot of people outside this locker room didn't really think that [this would happen]," said Miller, a former Duck. "Coming into Anaheim, they say they might take one out of two. But I know the mindset in here was we're going to come in here and play hard and we want to get wins every single night. The two wins now are huge and we've got to build off the positives and keep going."
Anaheim had good looks. Corey Perry shot just wide from the slot in the second period. Emerson Etem hit the post and Ryan Getzlaf skated in on Howard, only to have the Wings' goaltender glove it in the third. Howard also snared a Sheldon Souray slap shot on a late power play, and got a piece of a great shot by Cam Fowler before the buzzer.
Getzlaf needed time to cool off after he was given a game misconduct for arguing a tripping call in the blown-fuse final minute. He shouted his displeasure as he exited and held back when he met with reporters, saying: "I'm not going to comment like I want to. It's not my place right now."
Asked if it was hard to bite his tongue, Getzlaf said, "Extremely, but it's the nature of the game. And we're going to bite our tongue and push forward right now.
"The benefit that we have is we're headed in the right direction. We're not going in a downward spiral. The other game [Friday], we didn't play very well. Tonight, we played well, but we played just well enough to lose, so hopefully we're on the up climb and tomorrow night we can play well enough to win."
Getzlaf breathed life into Anaheim with a power-play goal with 46 seconds left in the second period to pull the Ducks to 2-1. Getzlaf took a pass from Saku Koivu, skated to the right side and snapped it far side for his 12th goal, one more than his total last season.
Anaheim's defensive issues from Friday carried over in the early going and resulted in a 2-0 Detroit lead – which marked seven unanswered goals by Detroit against Anaheim.
Cleary deflected Jakub Kindl's shot near the boards at 4:14 to continue Detroit's resurgent road power play with five straight games with a power-play goal and seven consecutive games overall.
Howard spoke about the team's renewed confidence on the road.
"I think now we've settled down," Howard said. "We've had a commitment to playing great defense, keeping them out to the outside. If I leave a rebound laying around there, somebody's there to clear it out. I think we're just paying attention to the details on the road, which is paying off."
Since its epic win against the Chicago Blackhawks, Anaheim has been outscored 7-2 in two games against Detroit. But it's premature to call it adversity.
"As long as we don't dwell on it to the point where we're feeling sorry for ourselves now, we'll be fine," Boudreau said. "This is a real tough stretch we're going through against a lot of really good teams. So we have to bring our ‘A' game every night, or we won't be successful."
After the game, Anaheim officially announced that it signed veteran wing Radek Dvorak. The veteran must first clear waivers.