After the Ducks and Red Wings split the first two games in Anaheim, the series headed to Detroit. Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf was asked by the media if the goal was to win one of the two games in Detroit to regain home ice advantage.
"We're going there to win two," was the captain's response.
It was not a cocky or arrogant reply, but one of confidence and determination and a clear desire to win. It has been the captain's attitude all season, as well as his teammates, which is why the Ducks are in the playoffs right now.
So far, Getzlaf and company are halfway there to winning two games in Detroit. A 4-0 shut out of the Red Wings, in their building, something they have not done since March 1997, gives the Ducks a 2-1 edge in the best of four series.
Everything was pretty even between both teams on Saturday evening until the second period. Justin Abdelkader earned a five minute major and a game misconduct for charging Toni Lydman. Lydman was left a little loopy and had some assistance to get off the ice. He did not return to the game.
"I think at this stage it is hard to tell," said coach Bruce Boudreau about Lydman's prognosis on Sunday. "Toni has headaches, and he's got a stiff neck, and bright lights are bugging him. I don't know when that's not going to be there. If we're going minute-by-minute and day-by-day, (Monday) is very questionable for him."
There is no question for Abdelkader. He earned a two game suspension for the hit to Lydman's head after a disciplinary hearing with Brendan Shanahan on Sunday afternoon.
On the ensuing power play, the Ducks wasted no time getting the first goal of the game just :18 seconds in. Nick Bonino got his second goal of the playoffs with a nifty deflection.
"It was big," said Bonino. "That game was back and forth, and we wanted the first goal to get some momentum. Getzlaf kind of told us before the power play started to settle down and don't rush because we've got five minutes here. To get that goal before the intermission and go in with the lead was good. It was what we wanted."
Anaheim certainly had the chance to stick a knife in the heart of Detroit, but failed to score any further on the major penalty. In fact, the Ducks were fortunate that Detroit did not have a short handed goal. Jonas Hiller stayed strong, making all 21 saves for the shut out.
The real turning point was in the third period when the Ducks were shorthanded. Getzlaf stole the puck from Damien Brunner then put it past a sprawling Jimmy Howard at 6:33. 2-0 Ducks and suddenly Joe Louis Arena was a lot quieter.
Emerson Etem's first goal of the playoffs at 8:04 added to the Ducks lead and to the Red Wings frustrations.
Anaheim stayed calm and unruffled, while Detroit started to unravel a bit on the ice. The worst of it coming when Howard punched Corey Perry in the head while Perry was perched in front of the goal crease. That gave the Ducks on 5 on 3 opportunity. After the first penalty expired, Matt Beleskey made it 4-0 at 13:34 and the game was essentially over and done with.
How done were the Red Wings? With the exception of Ducks fans who had flown to Detroit and the media, there was only a handful of Red Wings fans remaining in the building. So much so, that when the time came to announce less than one minute remaining, the announcement echoed in the virtually empty building.
"When you've got a 1-0 game and you get that second goal in a tight-checking game, it means the world," said Boudreau. "Getzlaf's done that so many times for us this year. Especially on the heels of me giving him crap about the penalty kill last night and he goes out and scores a goal — that's just the way he is. He's a leader in every sense of the word."
The leader said the Ducks were going to Detroit to win two. If they continue on this path, they might just do that on Monday evening.