If game one is a feeling out period, game two is definitely one of adjustments. After losing game one, the Detroit Red Wings made the necessary adjustments to get the win over the Anaheim Ducks in game two.
It appeared that the Red Wings would have an easy time of it against the Ducks until the third period happened. As Anaheim did in the regular season, they made an incredible come from behind effort, scoring three goals in the final twenty minutes to take the game to overtime. The Red Wings on the power play to start the overtime period saw an end to the Ducks hopes to take a two games to nothing lead to Detroit. Instead, both teams head to Detroit with the even split.
Game three on Saturday at the Joe Louis Arena will be another game of adjustments and corrections. For the Ducks, it would be to start each period strong.
In a clear sign that the Ducks would not dominate in game one, Detroit scored just :48 seconds into the game with a goal from Justin Abdelkader. When Damien Brunner score his first playoff goal at 4:20, coach Bruce Boudreau said "time out!"
The Ducks settled down for the rest of the period, but a penalty at the end of the first period saw the Red Wings on the power play to start the second. As they did in the first, they scored early, taking advantage of the extra man. Johan Franzen got his first of two goals on the evening at 1:04.
Even though Saku Koivu got the Ducks on the board at 10:53 of the middle frame, with a power play of their own, Detroit restored their three goal lead at the beginning of the third. It felt like deja vu when Franzen got his second power play just :20 seconds in. So much for that comeback, right?
The Ducks refused to quit. Ryan Getzlaf got the party started and the crowd back into the game at 7:50. Kyle Palmieri scored at 12:31, just after a penalty to Detroit expired, bringing the Ducks within one goal.
No one was going to leave the building early at this point. Bobby Ryan had a great chance with a little more than five minutes left, his shot ringing off the right post behind Jimmy Howard. He could not believe it did not go in. Three minutes later at 17:38, Ryan was redeemed when this shot did go in the net.
Can you say deafening crowd? Can you say this is what playoff hockey is all about?
Jonas Hiller made a spectacular save on Pavel Datsyuk in the final minute, which prevented the Red Wings from ending things in regulation.
An ill timed penalty, called on the Ducks when it seemed like nothing was being called on either team, meant Detroit had a power play to start overtime. As they had in the first three periods, the Red Wings converted early and at 1:21, Gustav Nyquist spoiled any chance the Ducks had of stealing game two.
"We lost an opportunity to put a stranglehold on them in the series, and we let it get away," said Ryan. "The team has been resilient all year in coming back in those opportunities and we believed. We almost pulled it off."
Almost only counts in hand grenades and horse shoes. Not in playoff hockey where things are black and white.
“I think you’re mostly disappointed every time you lose," said Boudreau. "And when you do come back to tie it, and lose it, it's a little more disappointing."
So onward to Detroit with the aim to take at least one game, preferably two, before coming back to Anaheim for game five.