With these Anaheim Ducks, apparently all things are possible, even winning at Joe Louis Arena. The Ducks finally got their fourth regular season win (after a mere 37 attempts) with a 5-2 defeat of the Red Wings.
Red Wings fans were not very happy about that. They are used to seeing their home team trounce upon the Ducks. That is to be expected. The last time Anaheim came into their building and won was February 10, 2008. Before that? March 19, 2002.
"They're a depleted team, so you can't overlook that," said Bobby Ryan. "It's just one of those buildings that sucks the life out of you. It's hard to get ready and the whole building is hot — you're falling asleep before the game sometimes."
Did it help that the Red Wings no longer have the services of Nicklas Lidstrom and Tomas Holmstrom, who both retired? Or that Pavel Datsyuk was scratched from the line up minutes before the game, adding to the already long list of injured Wings? Probably.
However, the way these Ducks are playing, they would have gotten a win anyway. It just would have been a bit closer in the score.
Even though it was scoreless in the first period, Jimmy Howard deserved much of the credit for keeping Anaheim off the board. Howard was very, very good, stopping 32 shots, half of them in the first period alone.
Detroit managed to get on the board first at 3:01 of the second period. Joakim Andersson got his first ever NHL goal.
The joy was short lived as Matt Beleskey firmly answered back just :26 seconds later to tie up the game. Ryan Getzlaf's no-look pass found Beleskey in front of the net, who happily slammed the puck behind Howard.
Tomas Tatar put the Red Wings back on top at 6:32 with a power play goal, but that was all they could muster against Viktor Fasth. Fasth got his seventh start in goal and his seventh win, stopping 26 shots.
As it was earlier, the Detroit lead did not last long. Corey Perry tied things up once again at 7:37 with his second goal of the year. Perry has been snakebit for the past 13 games, so the relief on his face was evident.
Things finally broke open in the third period. Both Andrew Cogliano and Ryan took advantage of bad turnovers by Detroit and scored :48 seconds apart. Ryan did so on his knees.
The Wings could not come back, despite a couple of power plays and good short handed chances. A bold move by coach Mike Babcock to remove Howard from net for the extra attacker with nearly 2:30 minutes left only yielded an empty net goal from Cogliano at 18:11 to seal the Ducks fate.
"We don't get down on the bench," Perry said. "We stay positive. Guys are still playing the same way. We don't change anything. If we continue to do that, we're going to be successful."
The Ducks have a 10-2-1 record thus far, and are 4-1-0 on this road trip with one game left against Nashville on Saturday night. Another difficult building for the Ducks to play in.
Fasth will likely be in net due to Jonas Hiller's extended time off due to a groin injury. With the way Fasth has been playing, Anaheim has the luxury of making sure Hiller is 100% before returning to his duties.
"(Fasth) has been our most valuable player," Ryan observed. "He has come in and given us a chance to win every game. He's a true professional."
Next chance comes quickly in the back to back and final road game of this trip. Their chances are getting better with every game.