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Red Wings must beat Ducks to stay alive

by John Kreiser


(Ducks lead best-of-7 series 3-2)


Big story: The Anaheim Ducks have a chance to join the Chicago Blackhawks and San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference Semifinals. But to get there, they'll have to beat a Detroit team that had had to battle down the stretch just to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs and had them on the ropes in Game 5.

Team Scope:

Ducks: Anaheim gave captain Ryan Getzlaf and his longtime right wing Corey Perry big-money, long-term contracts late in the regular season. Perry has yet to get untracked against the Red Wings, but Getzlaf has been everything a team could want in a captain -- leadership and production. He's tops on the Ducks with three goals in five games, including the game-tying power-play tally in Game 5.

"Isn't that what he's supposed to do?" coach Bruce Boudreau asked after the Ducks arrived in Detroit on Thursday. "Your best player is supposed to be your best player."

Red Wings: In contrast to Getzlaf, it's been a tough series offensively for first-year Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg, who has yet to score a goal this spring and has gone a career-high seven postseason games since turning on the red light. That's a huge turnaround for a player who has 51 goals and 105 points in 114 career playoff games.

"You want to be on the scoresheet," said Zetterberg, who has had a series-high 20 shots on goal. "All you can do is continue to work hard, keep putting pucks on the net, and hopefully one or two will sneak by the goalie."

The Red Wings, who had to scramble in the final week of the season to extend their playoff streak to 22 seasons, are hoping that experience helps them in Game 6.

"There should be no panic whatsoever in our room,'' goaltender Jimmy Howard told the media on Thursday. "We've been in this situation before and gotten through. We've just got to go into this game with the same mental attitude that we had the last week and good things will happen for us.''

Who's hot: Getzlaf has three goals and five points in five games. Nick Bonino has three goals, including the overtime winner in Game 5. … Damien Brunner leads Detroit with two goals and five points.

Injury report: Anaheim is missing defenseman Toni Lydman, who suffered a head injury in Game 2. … The Red Wings will have forward Justin Abdelkader back in the lineup after his two-game suspension for an illegal hit on Lydman. Detroit is still missing defenseman Danny DeKeyser (broken right thumb) and forwards Drew Miller (hand) and Darren Helm (back).

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