After dominating play all night long, the Detroit Red Wings
saw victory snatched away once. They weren’t about to let in happen again.
The Wings survived a last-minute, game-tying goal by Nashville’s Radek Bonk and beat the Predators 2-1 in Game 5 of their Western Conference quarterfinal series Friday night on Johan Franzen’s breakaway goal 1:42 into overtime. Detroit leads the series 3-2 and can advance to the second round with a win Sunday afternoon in Nashville. If the Predators win, Game 7 is Tuesday in Detroit
Ellis was the only reason the Predators got the chance to force overtime. He made 52 saves, many of them spectacular, to give his team a chance. “He kept them in the game,” Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom said.
Added Nashville coach Barry Trotz: “The biggest disappointment is we wasted that goaltending effort. But we forced it to overtime when we probably didn't deserve it.”
The Wings grabbed a 1-0 lead 4:20 into the game when Valtteri Filppula rifled a wrist shot from the left circle over Ellis’ left shoulder and just under the crossbar. It was his first goal of the series.
Detroit continued to dominate play but couldn’t get another puck past Ellis, who made 52 saves in regulation, including all 20 shots he faced in the second period.
“It was tough because the game stayed 1-0 for so long,” said Wings goaltender Chris Osgood, who got the start in place of Dominik Hasek and made 20 saves. “We couldn’t get it to 2-0. Ellis stood on his head.”
But while Ellis’ heroics kept them in the game, the Predators struggled to generate much offense against an inspired team that hustled to poke pucks away and clogged the front of the net with their bodies. Nashville managed only one shot on its three power plays in the first two periods.
''We knew we were going to see a desperate team in Detroit,'' Trotz said.
Ellis stopped 16 more shots in the third period before being pulled for an extra attacker, and the strategy worked when J.P. Dumont got the puck behind the net and found Bonk alone in the slot, 10 feet in front of Osgood. Bonk’s quick one-timer past Osgood tied the game with 43.4 seconds left in regulation — and silenced a sellout crowd that was prepared to celebrate.
As it turned out, the fans at Joe Louis Arena only had to wait a few more minutes for their celebration.
''One minute, you're on top of the world,'' Trotz said. ''The next minute, you feel real low.''
With just over 90 seconds gone in overtime, Filppula poked the puck away from Dan Hamhuis and Niklas Kronvall’s pass sent Franzen in alone. Franzen cut in and tucked a backhander just inside the post.
“I made up my mind what I wanted to do when I got to the blue line,” Franzen said. “I was going to try to deke him and go backhand. Shots, they didn't seem to work for me this night. So that didn't work so I had to try something else. He left a little hole open at the left post.”
Despite the Predators’ late tying goal, the Wings were confident rather than deflated going into the extra period.
“We have a great team, great offensive players. We’re going to score sooner or later,” Osgood said. “I felt this was going to be our game all night, even after they scored to make it 1-1. You just pick yourselves up and move on. You can’t dwell on it. I felt we were playing good, we were snake-bitten around the net, and sooner or later, it was going to happen for us.”
The Predators have less than 48 hours to regroup for Game 6.
“We put some pressure on at the very end, but we have to do more of that,” Ellis said. “We can't get 20 shots in a game and give up 50. You have to make an even effort the entire game and put them back on their heels. We didn't play physical enough, and we weren't mentally sharp enough."
Ducks beat Stars 5-2 to avoid elimination | Video
The Anaheim Ducks aren’t giving up their dreams of repeating as Stanley Cup champions without a fight. The Ducks stayed alive in their Western Conference quarterfinal series against Dallas with a 5-2 win in Game 5 at the Honda Center on Friday night. They still trail the series 3-2 and will have to win Game 6 at Dallas to force a seventh game back at home on Tuesday.
Anaheim goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere played his best game of the series, stopping 40 shots and looking more like the goaltender who led the Ducks to the Stanley Cup last spring.
“I thought Giguere was the best player on the ice tonight,” Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said.
The defending champs, on the brink of going home for the season, scored three times in the third period to break open the tight, physical game. After Mike Ribeiro pulled the Stars within 3-2 at 4:41 of the third, Sean O'Donnell built the lead back to two goals when he scored at 12:05. Todd Marchant added an empty-net goal with 1:24 remaining.
It was the fifth straight victory in a Game 5 for Anaheim, dating back to their Stanley Cup title run last year when they won all four of them. Giguere, who rarely plays on back-to-back nights during the regular season, was sharp from the start — sharper than he was in Thursday night’s 3-1 loss at Dallas.
|The Ducks played a physical style in Friday's Game 5 win over the Stars. Anaheim trails Dallas 3-2 in their quarterfinal series.
“I felt really good tonight," he said. "My job is just to try to give the team a chance to win. If I do that, I feel like we have the guys up front that can score some goals, and we did that tonight. Dallas is a good team. It wasn’t always pretty, but we did the job and found a way to win.”
Dallas forward Brad Richards felt Giguere was the difference.
"Giguere was really good, and we just couldn't get enough past him," he said. "We would've liked to have finished them off, but that's a tough feat. They are a very desperate team and we have to match that desperation. That's how you finish off playoff series."
In the first period, Giguere made a fine save when he went down to try to block a shot and reached out with his glove to bat the puck away — beginning the sequence that led to Anaheim's first goal. On the return rush, Corey Perry snapped a wrist shot from the right wing through Marty Turco’s pads at 8:25.
The Stars missed by one second of getting their ninth power-play goal of the series, but tied the game at 18:27 when Mattias Norstrom crept in from the left point and wristed a perfect shot from the lower left circle that caught a narrow gap and hit the top corner.
Anaheim used its own power play to regain the lead at 11:03 of the second period. Ryan Getzlaf got the puck at the left dot, waited patiently and finally wristed a shot through a screen and into the top corner.
“The guys were crashing the net, so I took my time and picked a corner,” Getzlaf said.
The Ducks’ power play came though again 48 seconds into the third period when Teemu Selanne grabbed the rebound of Chris Pronger’s shot off the end boards and one-timed it past Turco during a 5-on-3 power play for a 3-1 lead.
Ribeiro’s goal sent a few quivers through the sellout crowd, but Chris Kunitz set up O'Donnell's goal that gave the Ducks some breathing room. Kunitz set up behind the goal and slid the puck in front of the crease to O’Donnell, who flicked a shot that went over the sprawling Turco's right leg.
It was a little vindication for O’Donnell, whose turnover in the first period of Game 4 led to the goal that put Dallas ahead to stay.
"It certainly felt good," he said. "Whether it’s good or bad, you don’t want to dwell on it for too long. You don’t want to get too high or too low. We’ll call it even these two games. I cost one, I got one, so we’ll go back for Game 6."
After dominating special-teams play in the first four games, the Stars came up short in Game 5, going 0-for-7 with the man advantage and surrendering two goals to Anaheim on the Ducks’ three power plays.
"The special teams were the difference on their side tonight," coach Dave Tippett said. "They capitalized on their power plays and we didn't.”
Anaheim played with a level of desperation it had shown only rarely in the first four games. But the Ducks still have a tough task ahead of them — only 20 of 219 teams that have been down 3-1 in a series have come back to win.
“The biggest game of the year is Sunday night,” Carlyle said.
The Stars’ franchise has lost only once when leading 3-1 in a series, and the American Airlines Center figures to be rocking on Sunday.
"They took advantage of their chances," defenseman Stephane Robidas said. "We still have the series lead, and we know it's not going to be easy. We didn't play that poorly, we just have to bear down and keep our focus on Sunday night. Playoffs are about finding ways to stick with it, capitalizing on chances and just winning battles."
Material from wire services and team online and broadcast media was used in this report.