Brian Compton | NHL.com Staff Writer DETROIT – The Detroit Marathon isn't scheduled until October.
It came five months early on Sunday.
Todd Marchant's goal at 1:15 of triple overtime allowed the Anaheim Ducks to earn a split in the first two games of this Western Conference semifinal with a wild 4-3 victory against the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena.
For Marchant, an overtime goal was a long time coming. In fact, it was only the second of his playoff career. The first one came way back in 1997 as a member of the Edmonton Oilers.
This one, though, was for Mom. Marchant's parents, Susan and Peter, were in the building to see their son score one of the biggest goals of his life.
"My mom and dad came in from Buffalo, and I promised my mom I'd get a goal for her," Marchant said. "If you follow my career, you know how hard that can be to do."
It sure didn't come easy on this day, but Marchant and his Ducks teammates took little time to celebrate once Rob Niedermayer's screen in front of Chris Osgood allowed Marchant to rip a wrist shot past the Wings' goaltender, ending the game after 101 minutes, 15 seconds.
When it comes to these two teams in the postseason, Sunday was par for the course. It marked the third time in history the Wings and Ducks needed three overtimes to decide a game, and the eighth time in 20 matches where three periods simply weren't enough.
But it wasn't one of the many stars in this series – i.e. Ryan Getzlaf, Henrik Zetterberg or Hart Trophy candidate Pavel Datsyuk – who would end this marathon. Instead, it was the 35-year-old Marchant who would even the series for the Ducks.
"This is my second overtime goal in playoffs, and that was to end a series," said Marchant, who helped oust Andy Moog and the Dallas Stars that year. "Not too many games get decided off my stick, that's for sure. It's a tremendous feeling. But it's a team effort. That's what it takes in the playoffs."
It also took an unbelievable performance by Jonas Hiller, who made 59 saves for his first overtime win. Hiller outdueled Osgood, who stopped 42 shots. He never saw Marchant's.
"That was a fun game to play in," Osgood said. "That was a great game. I think it's like a guy who loves parachuting or bungee jumping. For me, I love playing in games like that. They're fun. It's disappointing to lose, but we're happy with the way we battled. I'm proud of the way we played."
Detroit certainly dominated the third period – again – as it outshot Anaheim 15-7. Johan Franzen erased a 3-2 deficit at 5:17 when he took a pass from behind the net by Henrik Zetterberg and roofed a wrist shot over Hiller for his fourth goal of the playoffs.
But Hiller stood tall for the remainder of regulation and helped the Ducks forced overtime. His play – along with Osgood's – nearly forced the teams to play an entire second game on Sunday.
"I don't think we made it hard enough on him," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said of Hiller – a quote that will make the Ducks' goalie either laugh or burst into tears. "He was good."
So good, in fact, that one overtime wasn't enough to decide this fantastic hockey game. Double overtime didn't cut it, either. In between the extra sessions, Marchant and the Ducks remained positive.
"Just keep pushing," Marchant said when asked what the players were saying to each other during the OT intermissions. "You never know when it's going to happen and how it's going to happen. You never know what play is going to be the difference. Stay sharp, stay ready."
"You had to drink a lot," Scott Niedermayer said. "I felt like I was leaking Gatorade … and I felt like my skates were sloppin' wet."
Marchant, though, made it all worthwhile for the Ducks in the end. He certainly got some help from Rob Niedermayer, who set up the screen in front that allowed his wrister to get by Osgood and silence what had been a raucous crowd at The Joe.
"We recovered the puck in the neutral zone and Todd went back, but the person who made the play was Rob," Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said. "He drove the middle lane and he provided a little distraction for Osgood."
"My mom and dad came in from Buffalo, and I promised my mom I'd get a goal for her. If you follow my career, you know how hard that can be to do." -- Todd Marchant on his game winning goal in triple overtime
A little distraction that made a big difference. Instead of boarding their flight to Anaheim down 2-0, the Ducks are all even with the Wings.
"It's awesome … this is why we play and why we train all season long," Marchant said. "It's for opportunities like this. You've got to suck it up and find a little extra energy. The biggest thing is you've got to stay mentally focused. Physically, you're going to be able to go and push yourself. It's got to come mentally. This group was able to do that.
"It takes a total team effort to get to that point. The guys battled hard. Three overtimes … that's a lot of time. Guys stayed with it. We go home 1-1."
Thanks to the goal Mom was promised.
Contact Brian Compton at: email@example.com.
RED WINGS-DUCKS POSTSEASON OVERTIME GAMES
Fri. May 2
Martin Lapointe (0:59 OT)
Sun. May 4
Vyacheslav Kozlov (41:31 OT)
Thu. May 8
Brendan Shanahan (37:03 OT)
Thu. Apr. 10
Paul Kariya (43:18 OT)
Wed. Apr. 16
Steve Rucchin (6:53 OT)
Sun. May 13
Scott Niedermayer (14:17 OT)
Sun. May 20
Teemu Selanne (11:57 OT)
Sun. May 3
Todd Marchant (18:45 3OT)
*Home team listed in CAPS
In desperate need of the tying goal, the trio of Henrik Zetterberg, Dan Cleary and Johan Franzen did a tremendous job of keeping the puck in behind Anaheim’s net early in the third period. Cleary managed to make a diving pass to Zetterberg, who then fed Franzen in front for the goal.
Ducks defenseman Chris Pronger, who logged more than 45 minutes on Anaheim’s blue line and scored just 16 seconds after Brad Stuart was whistled for interference at 8:34 of the second period.
Brad Stuart’s first goal of the playoffs deflected off three skates – both of Stuart’s and the right foot of James Wisniewski -- before going past Jonas Hiller six minutes into the game. Stuart was awarded the goal after a lengthy video review.
Sunday marked the 20th postseason meeting between the teams. Eight of them have needed more than regulation to decide.
Will Brian Rafalski return to the Wings’ lineup when this series shifts to Anaheim for Game 3 on Tuesday? Considering the stud defenseman hasn’t practiced or been available to the media in recent days, one has to seriously question Rafalski’s status for Southern California.
1 - 0 DET
1 - 1 Tie
2 - 1 ANA
2 - 2 Tie
3 - 2 ANA
3 - 3 Tie
1st OT Period
2nd OT Period
3rd OT Period
4 - 3 ANA
Delaying Game-Puck over glass