In a series between the Ducks and Red Wings that is an evenly matched as it could be, is it any surprise this one is going to a game seven to decide it all?
Both Anaheim and Detroit have been taking turns winning games in the series that has already seen four overtime games out of six. If game seven goes to OT, it won't be a shocker. Anaheim has won games one, three and five, with Detroit picking up two, four and six. Based on the pattern, it's Anaheim's turn, but nothing is a given in this first round match up.
In game six, you knew the Red Wings were going to come hard at the Ducks, especially as they were facing elimination. By the end of the first period, things had settled down a bit, but Pavel Datsyuk made it 1-0 at 18:48 to give the Red Wings the lead.
Datsyuk drew two Ducks defenders and then shot at the net blindly. Because Pavel Datsyuk is Pavel Datsyuk, the shot made it in past Jonas Hiller and Datsyuk made it looked easy.
The Ducks had a little luck in the second period, which came because of the fourth line's hard work. Emerson Etem intercepted a pass from Detroit and got it to Kyle Palmieri. His shot hit the post then bounced out and hit defenseman Brendan Smith in the stomach and went into the net from there behind Jimmy Howard at 11:31. It was Palmieri's second goal of the series.
In the third period, everything started off even and then looked as if it had all tilted in Detroit's direction. A power play goal from Henrik Zetterberg at 6:19 gave Detroit the lead once more.
After another penalty was called on the Ducks, who received absolutely zero power plays in the entire game, captain Ryan Getzlaf went ballistic at the refs, who seemed to be ignoring anything Detroit might be doing wrong on the ice.
Dan Cleary scored at 11:30, with Justin Abdelkader's shot deflecting off of him and into the net. Abdelkader was back in the line up after serving a two game suspension for a hard hit to the head to Toni Lydman in game three. Abdelkader is back, but Lydman isn't even skating or traveling with the team as he is still suffering from the hit.
The goal gave the Red Wings a two goal lead and it appeared things were going back to Anaheim for a game seven. It also started to look a little chippy with Cleary poking his stick into the Anaheim bench and the referees doing nothing other than shaking the no-no finger at Cleary.
Perhaps Cleary's actions finally spurred the Ducks to action, but miracles started to happen. Etem said "thank you very much" to a turnover by Valterri Filppula and put Anaheim within one goal at 16:32.
Less than a minute later Bobby Ryan tied up the game in spectacular fashion at 17:23, not unlike his heroic efforts in game four.
As they did in game four, those efforts silenced the Joe Louis Arena and once again these two teams headed into overtime.
"I don't know why we need to be two goals down to finally start playing," said Hiller. "Finally to get pressure on the net, finally going in harder and have that desperation that we lacked a little bit before that."
It didn't last long. It was all Detroit from the outset of the extra period and Zetterberg scored just 1:04 in to make sure there really was a game seven that Detroit thought there would be earlier in the game.
"Those two were kind of ugly ones, but that's what you need in the playoffs," said Zetterberg, finally scored in the series. "We started to feel the frustration when the puck doesn't go in. We just keep at it, keep shooting the pucks, maybe overshot it a little bit more and the pucks will go in eventually. Today, I don't think they were two of my hardest shots, but they found a way to go in."
It went in and it appears that Mother's Day will be spent biting nails and cheering on the Ducks.
Sunday is a best of one series. Winner goes on to round two. Loser cleans out the lockers and starts golfing.
If the Ducks win, they will meet up with the Los Angeles Kings for the first time in the post season in a series that has to be a record for fewest miles traveled between teams. It would also be a nasty series, on and off the ice.
If Detroit wins, they will play the Chicago Blackhawks and the Kings will get another California team in the San Jose Sharks.
The last time these two teams met in 2009 it also went to game seven. That time Detroit won 4-3 with the game winner from Cleary less than three minutes left in regulation. This time it will be at the Honda Center, not Joe Louis. For the Ducks, they hope the results will be different.