Ahhh spring! The NHL playoffs are underway and it must be time for another Anaheim and Detroit match up. Octopus sales have gone up and security at any arena the Red Wings play at has gone down.
The Ducks took the first game against the Red Wings, 3-1, octopi be damned. They turned in a solid performance all the way around. And of course a goal from timeless, ageless Teemu Selanne to win the game.
If you had the initials JH, you were in net. Jimmy Howard for the Wings and Jonas Hiller for the Ducks. Hiller made 21 saves for the win.
The Ducks started the scoring on the power play midway through the first period. Jordin Tootoo was in the box in what could only be termed a make up call by the referees. Anaheim capitalized on it quickly, with Nick Bonino winning the face off then redirecting Cam Fowler's shot on net at 10:24. It only took four seconds, and the lead felt pretty good to the standing room only crowd.
"It was fun, especially to get the lead early in front of a packed house like that," reflected Bonino.
"It’s something I’ll always remember.”
Two penalties by the Ducks left them down by two players and even though the first had expired, it did not prevent Detroit from tying up the game at 16:05. Dan Cleary had Jakub Kindl's shot glance off of his head and past Hiller. It was the only shot Hiller allowed.
The game remained tied, but Kindl made a panic move at the end of the second period, drawing a delay of game penalty.
That allowed the Ducks to have the majority of the power play on fresh ice to start the third period. In true Finnish Flash fashion, Selanne scored at 1:29 to put Anaheim ahead once and for all. It was only his 42nd playoff power play goal and the 10th playoff game winning goal of his long illustrious career.
"I know him well enough, you can tell when he’s got his legs early," said coach Bruce Boudreau. "The puck was following him a little bit tonight. I didn’t know if he was going to score, but I knew when he was on the ice, there was going to be a chance. I was happy for him.”
Detroit was properly motivated to try to tie up the game but also enlisted some not so sneaky stalling techniques with net empty at their end of the ice. Cleary casually went for a new stick at the bench. One of those ubiquitous octopi landed on the ice.
No matter. When the puck finally dropped, Getzlaf beat Pavel Datsyuk to the puck, giving it to Francois Beauchemin, who said thank you very much as he sent it the length of the ice straight into the empty net at 19:37.
Game over, but the series has only just begun.
"This is a good start, but nothing more," said Selanne.
There is a reason the series are seven games. This is one down, but there is a long way still to go. Next up is game two on Thursday.
In other notes: Andrew Cogliano finally got to play in a post season game after more than five seasons as a player. “It was unbelievable,” said Cogliano afterward. “It was a great time and I’m glad we got the win. Just the atmosphere and the intensity of the game are just on another level. I never experienced that before."
Cogliano primarily experienced that on the third line with Daniel Winnik and Saku Koivu. The three of them were successful in shutting down Henrik Zetterberg and Datsyuk.