Skip to main content


Red Wings 2, Ducks 1 @NHL

DETROIT (AP) -Beauty is in the eye of the winner.

The Detroit Red Wings beat the Anaheim Ducks in the opener of the Western Conference finals with two ugly power-play goals that looked awfully good to them.

Tomas Holmstrom scored with 4:54 left in regulation after a shot hit him standing in front of goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere before it dropped to the ice and trickled into the net, giving Detroit a 2-1 victory Friday night.

"We had traffic," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "It was a good goal."

Nicklas Lidstrom, whose shot was deflected by Holmstrom, was a little more honest.

"It was kind of a lucky break for us," said Lidstrom, who had two assists.

Detroit was fortunate to score the game's first goal, too.

Henrik Zetterberg's shot - that appeared to be a pass - deflected off Ducks defenseman Francois Beauchemin and got past Giguere at 3:44 of the first period.

"I believe in this game you create the bounces that go for you," Giguere said.

Both of Detroit's goals were last touched by Beauchemin, who swiped at the game-winner in the crease after it hit Holmstrom.

"That's a freak thing that happens and it happened to us," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. "We'll move on."

Game 2 is Sunday night in Detroit before the series shifts to Anaheim.

Chris Kunitz made it 1-all early in the third period with a shot from the slot that beat Dominik Hasek on the glove side. It was the first goal Hasek gave up in nearly 157 minutes.

With two stellar goaltenders and four Norris Trophy winners - combining to be honored as the NHL's top defenseman nine times - it was a low-scoring game as expected.

Shortly after Holmstrom's goal, Anaheim had a chance to tie the game again on a power play and it pulled Giguere to make it a two-man advantage, but they couldn't score.

Hasek made 31 saves and Giguere stopped 17 shots.

"Dom was outstanding," Babcock said. "Dom shut the door."

The Western Conference's first- and second-seeded teams won their first two series a year after the conference's top four teams lost in the first round.

Anaheim is in the conference finals for the third time in four postseasons, more than any team since 2003. Detroit, meanwhile, is among the final four in the league for the first time since winning the Stanley Cup in 2002.

The Red Wings and Ducks are matched up for the fourth time in the playoffs and Detroit hopes to continue a trend.

Each of the previous three meetings have ended with sweeps, with the Red Wings winning in 1997 and 1999, and Anaheim advancing past them in 2003 with Babcock behind its bench.

It took just 8 seconds in Game 1 for Detroit to score against the Ducks' vaunted penalty-killing unit.

Zetterberg won a faceoff, got the puck back along the left boards and his shot from the bottom of the right circle hit Beauchemin and was redirected between Giguere's pads.

Anaheim allowed just three goals on 56 power plays during the first two rounds, leading to an NHL-high 94.6 percent success rate on penalty killing.

While the Red Wings took advantage of their only power play in the opening period, Anaheim went 0-for-3 and only took one shot with a two-man advantage for 1 1/2 minutes shortly after Detroit scored.

"Those things come back to bite you," Carlyle said.

The Ducks controlled play often, but their pressure paid off only once when Kunitz scored on a 4-on-4 situation.

Anaheim was scoreless on seven power plays while Detroit was 2-for-4.

"It's got to be a little heartbreaking, to have the opportunities we had and not capitalize like we could," said Ryan Getzlaf, whose drop pass gave him an assist on the Ducks' goal.

Notes: Pavel Datsyuk had an assist on the first goal, giving him five points in the last three games. ... Detroit and Anaheim split the season series, both teams won twice at home. ... Both teams lost to Edmonton last year, with the Red Wings falling to the Oilers in the first round and the Ducks in the conference finals. ... Anaheim C Todd Marchant (groin) played for the first time in the postseason. ... The Red Wings were without key defensemen Mathieu Schneider (broken wrist) and Niklas Kronwall (fractured sacrum) ... Anaheim has just six players on its roster from the Babcock-led team in 2003. ... Chris Pronger is facing the Red Wings for the sixth time in the playoffs and one-fourth of his 120 postseason games have been against them. ... Kunitz went to college in Michigan, playing four seasons at Ferris State. ... Since 2003, Babcock has won an NHL-high 26 playoff games.

View More

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.