Detroit, MI – Some thought that entering Game 3, the Detroit Red Wings had all of the momentum. I highly doubt that was the case. Especially not after Game 3. The Anaheim Ducks put up a very good performance and shutout the Wings by a score of 4-0 to take a 2-1 lead in the series. Jonas Hiller posted a 23-save shutout and the Ducks got 4 goals from 4 different players and 3 on special teams, including 2 on the powerplay and 1 shorthanded.
To start, each team had their moments in the first period, with the Ducks registering 13 shots and the Wings registering 7. There were also seven penalties called in the first period, four by the Ducks and three by the Wings. The second period had a few less shots and a few less penalties, but had arguably the most important penalty of the game. Detroit forward Justin Abdelkader absolutely crushed Ducks defenseman Toni Lydman to the right of Hiller. The only thing is is that he left his feet and launched himself at Lydman and hit him up high. Lydman would need help getting off the ice and would not return to the game. Abdelkader would get a five minute major for charging and a game misconduct. On the resulting powerplay, less than 20 seconds in, Nick Bonino cashed in on a loose puck in front of Jimmy Howard and broke the scoreless tie. The Ducks wouldn’t get another on the five minute powerplay.
The Ducks really took over in the third period. After Luca Sbisa would get called for interference, which was ticky-tacky kind of penalty call, which happened a lot tonight, Ryan Getzlaf would put pressure on rookie Damien Brunner who was puck-handling at his own blue line and cause a turnover where Howard came out to try a poke check, but Getzlaf would evade the poke check and slide the puck into an empty net. Almost two minutes later, Teemu Selanne made a nice backhand pass from behind the net to Emerson Etem who was by himself in front of the net. Howard would get caught cheating off the post and Etem beat him shortside for a 3-0 Anaheim lead. Frustration started to boil for Howard and it showed when he punched Corey Perry in the back of the head while he was setting up a screen. The Ducks would cash in again on the powerplay when Saku Koivu would make a real nice pass from the near boards to a wide open Matt Beleskey in front who would tip it by a sliding Howard. At this point the Joe Louis Arena already looked a bit vacant, but the Hockeytown faithful led an evacuation of the building.
The Ducks really shut down the Wings offense in this game, only allowing 23 shots and blocking 15 shots. In the third, the Ducks’ blue line seemed to be like an impenetrable force as the Wings could not break through to try and set any kind of offense up. The tone was really set in the first few minutes when the Ducks got 5 of the first shots on goal in the game and sent a message to the Wings. Both teams played very conservative at times, but there were also times of some very open play as well. This performance by the Ducks was almost Randy Carlyle era-esque. Shutdown defense/penalty killing, a goalie making saves off his face and a forward core that forechecked extremely led to this 4-0 outcome. I don’t think a single player on the Ducks had a bad game. There is no word yet on Lydman except he has a headache. Boudreau said he doesn’t think he’ll be skating tomorrow. If so, it looks like Souray gets his job back.
I noticed some Red Wings fans complaining on how many powerplays the Ducks had and I just find it funny that by the end of the game, the Wings had THE SAME AMOUNT OF POWERPLAYS. I can’t wait to see how many continue to complain about the Abdelkader ejection and the number of penalties called against them. It’s a joke. Wings fans showing their true colors by leaving early and making excuses for an very bad performance by their team. Hockeytown was simply anything BUT that tonight.
Game 4, monday night.
Topics: 2013 NHL Playoffs, 2013 Western Conference Quarterfinals, Anaheim Ducks, Bruce Boudreau, Corey Perry, Damien Brunner, Detroit Red Wings, Emerson Etem, Jimmy Howard, Jonas Hiller, Justin Abdelkader, Luca Sbisa, Matt Beleskey, Nick Bonino, Randy Carlyle, Ryan Getzlaf, Saku Koivu, Teemu Selanne, Toni Lydman