DETROIT - The last two Stanley Cup champions were evenly matched in their second round series opener. Then Detroit got the best of Anaheim.
Nicklas Lidstrom scored his second goal of the game with 49.1 seconds left, lifting the Red Wings to a 3-2 win over the Ducks on Friday night in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinal series.
Lidstrom started the winning play behind his own net, skated up the ice, shot and scored off his rebound.
He scored a go-ahead goal for the defending Stanley Cup champion Red Wings in the second period after teammate and fellow Swede Johan Franzen tied it in the first following their first deficit of the playoffs.
Corey Perry and Teemu Selanne scored for the Ducks, who hoisted the Cup in 2007.
Game 2 is Sunday in Detroit.
Chris Osgood had 22 saves for the Red Wings, and Jonas Hiller stopped 34 shots for the Ducks.
Since the NHL expanded in 1967, the defending champion and the previous Cup winner have met in the playoffs three times. The others were in 1991 when the Edmonton Oilers played the Calgary Flames, and in 1971 when the Montreal Canadiens faced the Boston Bruins.
Anaheim eliminated the Red Wings two years ago in the Western Conference finals en route to the title, and the fourth postseason matchup in a decade between the teams was intense.
The fifth got bloody early.
Ducks forward Mike Brown was ejected in the first period, appearing to land an elbow to the head of defenceless Jiri Hudler.
The game was delayed briefly while Hudler was helped off the ice and blood was scraped off it. A towel was pressed against a big cut above Hudler's left eye.
Detroit took advantage of the power play, tying the game on Franzen's goal off Lidstrom's assist.
Lidstrom gave Detroit a 2-1 lead early in the second period with a power-play goal off a slap shot. But the Ducks didn't go away.
Selanne scored a power-play goal with 17 seconds left in the middle period.
The eighth-seeded Ducks were competitive in the third, playing four days after knocking off the top-seeded San Jose Sharks. Detroit didn't seem rusty at all, getting back into a game for the first time in more than a week.
Notes: Red Wings D Brian Rafalski was a surprise scratch with an injury and was replaced by 47-year-old Chris Chelios, who played in his 261st playoff game and 24th postseason to extend his own records ahead of Patrick Roy (247) and Ray Bourque (21). ... Detroit and the Ducks have both won two series against each other. The Red Wings eliminated Anaheim en route to the 1997 Cup and in 1999. ... The Ducks beat Detroit in the 2003 playoffs with current Detroit coach Mike Babcock as their coach. ... The Red Wings won the season series 3-1. ... Babcock (72) and Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle (49) have the most playoff victories and highest winning percentages since 2003.