ANAHEIM, Calif. – The Anaheim Ducks made sure there would be no road clincher by the Detroit Red Wings.
Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry each had a goal and an assist and Jonas Hiller made 38 saves as the Ducks beat the Red Wings 2-1 Tuesday to force a decisive Game 7 in the Western Conference semifinal series.
Scott Niedermayer and Bobby Ryan added assists for the Ducks, who built a two-goal lead in the second period and managed to shut down the Red Wings until Johan Franzen brought Detroit within a goal with 2:25 to play.
Game 7 will be in Detroit on Thursday, with the winner moving on to face the Chicago Blackhawks in the conference finals.
“Not a lot had to be said, we have enough guys in here who have been there before,” Getzlaf said. “It was unacceptable the way we played last game. We were excited about tonight.”
Led by their top line of Getzlaf, Perry and Ryan, the Ducks matched the Red Wings’ up-tempo attack stride for stride and avoided elimination.
The Red Wings had clinched their last eight playoff series wins with victories on the road, and seemed poised to do the same after outskating and outshooting Anaheim 78-45 in consecutive wins in Games 4 and 5.
But facing elimination, the Ducks returned to the form that carried the team to a league-best 10-2-1 mark in the final weeks of the season, then through a first-round upset of the Presidents’ Trophy-winning San Jose Sharks.
“We knew we wanted it tonight, we have a great team in here,” said Perry. “We dug down and you can just feel it before the game, everyone was ready to play.”
Having failed in their chance to close out the Ducks on Tuesday, the Red Wings will now face their first Game 7 since drubbing the Colorado Avalanche 7-0 at the home in the final game of Patrick Roy’s career on May 31, 2002. Detroit is 11-7 in Game 7s, but just 3-3 at home since 1991.
“I think they were more desperate tonight than we were,” said Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom. “They came out stronger. There were too many turnovers that created more time in our zone than we wanted to.”
Anaheim’s best post-season players also got back in form.
Getzlaf generated 16 points in 11 games to open the playoffs, but was held without a point in Game 5. He responded with his seventh multiple-point game of the playoffs.
Hiller yielded 10 goals in the last two games, but he returned to the stinginess that carried the Ducks to wins in Games 2 and 3 of the series.
“I think everybody stepped up and played hard and we deserved to win and go on to Game 7,” Hiller said. “It was a tough fight, 60 minutes, a close game again, and emotions were unloading at the end.
“We have to play with emotions to have a chance to win.”
Chris Osgood made 26 saves for the Red Wings and was especially sharp early as the Ducks outshot Detroit 12-8 in a quick-paced first period.
After failing to score on an initial man-advantage in the opening minute of the second period, the Ducks went back on the power play when Niklas Kronwall lofted the puck over the glass in the Detroit zone.
Getzlaf knocked Daniel Cleary off the puck behind the Ducks’ net to begin a rush. He finished the play by outmuscling defenseman Jonathan Ericsson to tap in a loose puck in the Detroit crease 2:21 into the second period.
“Desperation, it doesn’t have to be huge, just a little bit more,” said Detroit coach Mike Babcock.”You win more puck battles and more puck races.”
Getzlaf’s goal seemed to wake up Detroit as the Red Wings threatened, helped in part by a pair of power plays, controlling play in the Anaheim zone.
But after the Wings failed to beat Hiller, Perry batted a fluttering 50-foot shot from the left point by Getzlaf past Osgood to make it 2-0.
“It was a close game and I think we competed,” said Detroit centre Henrik Zetterberg, who assisted on Frazen’s goal.”We tried to get pucks into the net and be there for second chances. Unfortunately we couldn’t get more than one puck behind him. “
Notes: Zetterberg has at least a point in each game of the series. The 2008 Conn Smythe winner has mixed a power-play goal with two empty netters and five assists. … Anaheim is 2-1 all-time in Game 7 and won its most recent Game 7, shutting out Calgary 3-0 on May 3, 2006 to advance to the conference semifinals. … Defenseman Brian Rafalski returned to the Red Wings. He had been sidelined throughout the series with an upper body injury. … Forward Josh Green was back in the Ducks’ lineup after being scratched for Game 5.