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Ducks set for winner-take-all Game 7 vs. Red Wings

by Brian Hunter


(Best-of-7 series tied, 3-3)


Big story: Once again, the Anaheim Ducks and Detroit Red Wings are going the distance in a Western Conference Quarterfinal series. Four years ago, the underdog Ducks took the Red Wings to a Game 7 before falling in Detroit; this time around, they'll try to take advantage of the home ice that came with being the No. 2 seed in the West this season. Anaheim has been no worse than tied at the end of regulation in all six games, but Detroit's knack for overtime heroics -- most recently Henrik Zetterberg's goal in Game 6 that sent the teams back to Honda Center -- has prolonged the series to a winner-take-all battle Sunday night.

Team Scope:

Red Wings: It was Gustav Nyquist in Game 2 and Damien Brunner in Game 4. After a pair of Stanley Cup Playoff neophytes kept Detroit afloat in the series, it was the captain who came to the rescue in Game 6 on Friday with the entire season on the line.

Zetterberg had already scored the go-ahead goal in the third period, but when that turned out not to be enough he provided some additional heroics just 64 seconds into overtime, sneaking a shot from the far left wing boards past Jonas Hiller for a 4-3 victory.

"Those two were kind of ugly ones, but that's what you need in the playoffs," Zetterberg said after scoring his first two goals of the series. "We started to feel the frustration when the puck doesn't go in, but at the same time we've been doing a lot of good things on our line. We just keep at it, keep shooting the pucks, maybe overshot it a little bit more and the pucks will go in eventually. Today, I don't think they were two of my hardest shots, but they found a way to go in."

Ducks: It isn't all that far-fetched to say Anaheim could have swept this series with a few extra bounces late, but instead the Ducks could see one of the best seasons in franchise history end a lot earlier than anticipated if they can't successfully defend their home ice in Game 7.

They continued to get scoring from their depth forwards in Game 6, as Kyle Palmieri wiped out a one-goal deficit in the second period and Emerson Etem started their late comeback with a goal in the third. The Ducks are still waiting for the first goal of the series from Corey Perry, who has been held to two assists.

"I assume that at one point, Corey Perry is going to break out," coach Bruce Boudreau told Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register. "He always has. He always will. Let's just hope it's [Sunday]."

Who's hot: Pavel Datsyuk had a goal and two assists in Game 6 and leads the Red Wings for the series with seven points. Zetterberg has five points in the past two games. … Palmieri has goals in consecutive games for the Ducks. His five points tie him for the Ducks' lead along with Ryan Getzlaf.

Injury report: Anaheim defenseman Toni Lydman (head/stiff neck) hasn't played since Game 3 and isn't likely to return until the next round, if the Ducks advance.

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