The Anaheim Ducks stunned the Joe Lewis Arena crowd with a three-goal third period to knock the Detroit Red Wings flat on their backs and take a 2-1 series lead. Now the two teams are set to square off again in Detroit, where the Ducks will hope to snag another and grab a stranglehold of the series, while the Wings try to get even.
Anaheim got the better of Detroit in Game 1 thanks to Teemu Selanne. The ageless wonder's third period power play wrister found the net to give the Ducks the lead, which was followed by an empty netter to seal Anaheim's 3-1 win.
Game 1 couldn't touch the drama of Game 2, though. Justin Abdelkader scored 48 seconds in and the Wings spent much of the night threatening to turn the game into a rout. When they went up 4-1 early in the third, it looked like that might just happen, but the Ducks answered with three goals to ignite Honda Center and force overtime. Having blown their lead, the Wings looked done, but they came back in overtime with a power play goal to tie the series at 1-1.
With the series even, Detroit felt good about their chances going back home, but a slew of missed opportunities in the first period doomed them in Game 3. Then Abdelkader was given a game misconduct for charging, the Ducks scored on the ensuing power play and it all spiraled out of control as Anaheim cruised to a 4-0 win.
Detroit has yet to put together a full game, nearly ruining their strong performance in Game 2 with a horrendous last 15 minutes of regulation. If they can't do it tonight, they'll find themselves on the brink of elimination.
Who will replace Justin Abdelkader?
It wasn't too long ago that Wings fans were wondering what Abdelkader was doing on the top line, but he played great down the stretch and had two fantastic playoff games. Everything was looking up for Abdelkader, until he charged Toni Lydman in Game 3, was given a game misconduct and suspended for two games.
Mike Babcock will probably tap Todd Bertuzzi to replace him and while Bertuzzi is as much of a pest as Abdelkader, he's not nearly as good of a skater or finisher. Who would have guessed the Wings would be bemoaning the loss of Abdelkader three months ago? Yet here we are.
Who will replace Toni Lydman?
While the Wings have to fing a replacement for Abdelkader, the Ducks have to find one for the man he hit, Lydman. The 34-year-old is expected to miss several games as he deals with headaches from the hit, which hurts a Ducks blue line that leaned heavily on the veteran.
In Lydman's absence, Anaheim will likely turn to Sheldon Souray, who was a healthy scratch in Game 3. While that sounds like a fine replacement, Souray had a really rough go of it in Game 1 and Game 2. He was beaten for a goal in Game 1 and took two costly penalties in Game 2, leading to his being scratched. If Souray is at his best, the Ducks will be just fine, but Souray hasn't been anywhere near his best so far in the postseason.
Can the Wings get their power play going?
Detroit went 4 for 10 on the power play in the first two games of the series, but they came up empty on six chances in Game 3. The Ducks took penalty after penalty, especially in the first period when they went to the box four times, but the Wings couldn't convert. For a team with just two even strength goals in the series, that's not going to cut it.
The Red Wings' power play troubles stemmed from their inability to get the puck into the zone and get pucks to the net. The Ducks did a great job making Detroit play dump and chase, even on the power play, and then blocked shot after shot to keep the Wings from even challenging Jonas Hiller. If Detroit can't do a better job of getting the puck in the zone and getting shots through on the man advantage, they might as well wave the white flag now.