The final 22 minutes of Game 2 in their Stanley Cup Playoff series Thursday night represented everything that is heart-pounding and intense about this rivalry.
Gustav Nyquist abruptly ended it with a power-play one-timer from the left side 1:21 into overtime to give Detroit a 5-4 win Thursday night in Game 2 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals. The goal came after a furious three-goal rally by the Ducks that seemed destined to conclude with an Anaheim win -- but instead ended in a white-and-red celebration as Detroit evened the series 1-1.
"It's obviously a great feeling," Nyquist said. "You just celebrate with the guys. It was a special feeling."
The goal came with one second left in a slashing call against Anaheim defenseman Sheldon Souray at 19:22 of the third period.
Anaheim trailed 4-1 with less than 13 minutes remaining before a Ducks' rally put Honda Center into a steady roar: Captain Ryan Getzlaf scored on a nifty backhand with Danny DeKeyser on his back at 7:50, and Kyle Palmieri's shot from the right side somehow eluded Jimmy Howard's glove at 12:31 to cut the deficit to one goal.
Bobby Ryan completed the comeback with a one-time snap off a pretty give-and-go play with Cam Fowler at 17:38. Detroit nearly put the madness to rest when Pavel Datsyuk walked in on Hiller with about 40 seconds to go in regulation, but his backhander was stopped by the goaltender's outstretched arm.
Game 3 is Saturday night in Detroit – and maybe everybody's heart rate will have settled by then. The Red Wings will not have DeKeyser, who broke his right thumb.
"He's done," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said.
The rest of the Red Wings' young core -- including Nyquist -- will presumably learn from this.
"I thought tonight, though, we were at times as frazzled as we've been in a long time," Babcock said. "Guys want to win bad. You get standing around watching instead of playing. It's a good life lesson for our crew and good for kids. We have lots of kids on our team. They're not like veterans. They're just different."
Anaheim was going for its 2-0 series lead since 2009 and first 2-0 series lead against Detroit since 2003. That's significant considering the voodoo that hangs around the Ducks at Joe Louis Arena, where it has lost eight of 13 playoff games, although they are 5-4 there since 2003.
"We lost an opportunity to put a stranglehold on them in the series, and we let it get away," Ryan said. "The team has been resilient all year in coming back in those opportunities and we believed. We almost pulled it off.
"You lose that home-ice advantage, right? Now they only have to take care of their building. I don't know. I don't think we were going to win in four games anyway. We knew we were going to have to win in their building. Now it's paramount to do it earlier."
Johan Franzen had a huge game with two power-play goals despite being helped off the ice at the end of the second period because he "got a bump," Babcock said. His second goal 20 seconds into the third period gave Detroit a 4-1 lead after he whacked in a second-period rebound for a 3-0 advantage.
Detroit jumped to a 2-0 lead in the opening 4:20 and played a much better road playoff game than Game 1 for the first 40 minutes.
The Ducks closed to 3-1 before the second intermission. Howard left a big rebound from Teemu Selanne's shot and Saku Koivu took it off his skate and tapped it home at 10:53. The goal snapped a 21-game scoring drought.
But Koivu took a charging penalty at the end of the second period and Franzen knocked in in a rebound on the ensuing power play.
Damien Brunner stepped into the spotlight with a goal and two assists as there was a night-and-day difference from Game 1 in Detroit's forecheck at the start. Selanne made an ill-advised pass in his corner that Kyle Quincey tipped toward Brunner in the slot for a wrist shot at 4:20 for his first career playoff goal and a 2-0 lead.