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Stuart nets pair as Wings extend Ducks' miseries

by Curtis Zupke
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- A power outage delayed the Detroit Red Wings in more ways than one on Sunday night.

A Southern California rainstorm knocked out power at Honda Center and delayed their game with the Anaheim Ducks for 27 minutes. Then the Red Wings' hot power play finished empty on six chances.

But Detroit came out with a 4-2 victory thanks to unlikely goals from Brad Stuart and a penalty-killing unit that squashed two Ducks power plays in the final 5:46.

Stuart had the game-winning goal in the second period and banked in a shorthanded empty-net goal off the boards to seal Detroit's sixth victory in eight games.

Although they nearly blew a 3-0 lead, the Red Wings finished a four-game road trip 2-2 with a back-to-back sweep of the Kings and Ducks.

Their disconcerting loss to San Jose earlier in the week seems like old news.

"We don't want to be on this roller-coaster ride of a season," goalie Jimmy Howard said. "You're up and down. You're all over the place but we finished the road trip fine … getting points in the last two games here is huge for us."

Stuart scored on a wrist shot off Johan Franzen's pass with Todd Bertuzzi screening goalie Jonas Hiller at 7:10 of the second. He added the empty-netter at 19:12 of the third for his first multi-goal game since April 4, 2003.

"(I was) just slowly watching it go and go," Stuart said. "I wasn't sure if it was going to curl in there. It did and it was nice to take the pressure off in the last minute."

Howard had a pretty good view of it.

"It's that old Larry Bird-Michael Jordan bounce, right?" Howard said. "It's good to see. He works so hard and he does all the little things so good."

Howard helped hold off a 6-on-4 Ducks advantage in the final 70 seconds and stopped Teemu Selanne midway through the third period.

Anaheim had 15 of its 34 shots on goal in the final 20 minutes.

"They were coming hard," Howard said. "They don't stop. They got a real hard-working team over there. They take pucks to the net and they crash. They make the goaltender's life tough, but our guys did a good job of boxing out and helping me clear out rebounds.

"It was a gutsy effort all the way around tonight. The way guys were blocking shots right at the end. You knew, you could see the look in everyone's eyes we were determined to get the two points."

Howard made two stops alone with the knob of his stick. He caught just enough of Bobby Ryan's backhand in the first period and somehow found Devante Smith-Pelly's shot in the second.

Prior to that, Detroit's signature forecheck had Anaheim disrupted and led to a 3-0 Red Wings lead.

Pavel Datsyuk stole Cam Fowler's pass and chipped a pass to a streaking Franzen, who wristed it past Hiller only 14 seconds into the second period.

"I forced it," Fowler said. "Terrible play. It's not something that I usually try and make. I've got to be more patient than that."

Anaheim finally showed life with two goals from its second line in the last half of the second period to cut its deficit to 3-2.

Saku Koivu finished off a rush with a snap shot at 11:24, and Selanne tapped in Corey Perry's terrific cross-crease pass for a power play goal at 16:21.

But the Ducks were doomed by yet another bad start.

Henrik Zetterberg scored only 86 seconds into the game when he dug the puck out from the legs of a sprawled Brandon McMillan on the left side and backhanded the puck past Hiller's blocker side.

The Ducks have given up the first goal in 12 of its 20 games.
"That's been a trait where we've had to play catch-up in all these games," Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said. "And the first thing I can say is that we're not establishing any forecheck or any physicality early in the hockey game. It takes too long for us to do that. We're receiving and we're not on the aggressive side and for whatever reason, I wish I had the answer to it because we'd be correcting it."

Anaheim's 2-9-4 stretch over the past 15 games is the worst run of Carlyle's seven-year tenure.

While his club has shown flashes of its potential, it hasn't put together a complete game and its vaunted top line of Ryan, Perry and captain Ryan Getzlaf was a minus-9 on Sunday.

"It's not a matter of what I can say now," Getzlaf said. "We are in a situation where we have to play ourselves out of it and that includes me. I just have to keep playing and we have to lead by example. Our group here, who I have been with for a little while, we have a great core of leaders and we just have to keep pushing."

A power outage knocked out the house lights with 13:47 remaining in the first. Both teams retreated to their locker rooms and play resumed, ironically, with the Red Wings on a power play.

Asked what he did during the delay, Detroit coach Mike Babcock said, "I didn't tell them anything. Just let them do what they're supposed to do."

Anaheim officials announced that the problem was because of "external events due to weather conditions."

It was the second time in as many games that the lights went out at Honda Center. There was a 15-minute delay here Thursday here due to electrical problems, a team official said.
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