ANAHEIM, Calif. – Teemu Selanne scored in the first period, Scott Niedermayer added a goal in the second, and Jonas Hiller made 18 of his 45 saves in the third for the Anaheim Ducks, who held on for a 2-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night and grabbed a 2-1 lead in Western Conference semifinal series.
After building the first multiple-goal lead of the series, Hiller and the Ducks survived a third-period barrage by the defending Stanley Cup champion Red Wings.
Detroit nearly tied the game with 1:09 remaining when Marian Hossa dived to knock in a loose puck in front of Hiller, but referee Brad Watson lost sight of the puck and whistled the play dead before the purported goal.
The Red Wings got a goal from Henrik Zetterberg in the second period and had a pair of power plays in the final 9:35, but couldn’t tie it. The Ducks had the NHL’s best regular-season record when leading after two periods and are 4-0 in those situations during the playoffs.
Game 4 will be in Anaheim on Thursday before the series returns to Detroit for Game 5 on Sunday.
The Red Wings won the series opener at home on a last-minute goal by Nicklas Lidstrom. Anaheim got even with a triple-overtime road victory Sunday on Todd Marchant’s goal.
Anaheim is two wins away from reaching the Western Conference final for the third time in four seasons. The Ducks’ recent run of success coincided with the 2006 arrival of Niedermayer and Selanne.
Both players nearly retired after Anaheim’s 2007 Stanley Cup victory but they are once again key post-season contributors.
Shortly after Hiller made a left-leg save on a partial breakaway by Mikael Samuellson midway through the first, Selanne beat goalie Chris Osgood on a breakaway to give the Ducks a 1-0 lead.
Sneaking behind 47-year-old Detroit defenceman Chris Chelios, Selanne corralled a long-pass from Ryan Carter at the blue line. The 38-year-old Selanne swiftly swept the puck to his backhand and lofted a shot over Osgood’s right shoulder for his second goal of the series and third of the playoffs.
The Ducks made it 2-0 on Niedermayer’s power-play goal 8:16 into the middle period. With defenceman Brad Stuart serving an interference penalty, Niedermayer arrived at a scrum in front of Osgood and swiped a fluttering shot over the goalie.
Then it got ugly.
Ducks defenceman James Wisniewski had to be taken off the ice on a stretcher with 6:11 to play in the second after being struck in the head by Detroit forward Tomas Holmstrom’s elbow.
Wisniewski had been defending in front of the Anaheim net when Holmstrom skated by and delivered the elbow shot. Seconds earlier, Wisniewski was hit by a slap shot in the rib area.
When play was finally whistled, Wisniewski remained on the ice on his hands and knees. After several minutes he was helped onto a stretcher and taken to a hospital for precautionary reasons.
When play resumed, the Red Wings went on a power play. Zetterberg snapped in a loose puck in front of Hiller to draw Detroit within 2-1 with 5:40 left in the second period.
Notes: Detroit was again without defencemen Brian Rafalski (upper body) and Andreas Lilja (concussion) and C Kris Draper (upper body). … The Ducks have faced the Red Wings in five of the seven years Anaheim has reached the playoffs. … The Red Wings had been 2-0 on the road in the playoffs, having swept Columbus in the first round. … Ducks C Ryan Getzlaf assisted on Niedermayer’s goal, extending his point streak to seven games (2 goals, 12 assists).