April 10, 2003: Someone, Please Score a Goal!
The 2003 Detroit Red Wings roster was stacked with players who would eventually find themselves in the hall of fame. Names like Sergei Fedorov, Brett Hull, Brendan Shanahan, and Nicklas Lidstrom graced the score sheets on a nightly basis, leading the team in a 110 point season.
Skating onto the ice at Joe Louis Arena for Game One was likely exhilarating for the Mighty Ducks. Not only were they facing off against one of their biggest rivals, but they were also facing off against the defending Stanely Cup Champions. If they wanted to defeat these giants, it was now or never.
Early in the first, Ruslan Salei took a holding penalty for the Mighty Ducks. As great as the Ducks penalty kill unit was, the Red Wings power play was lethal. With the best power play in the NHL, they sat an entire 7.39% above the league average.
It didn’t take long for the Red Wings to prove just how dangerous their PP was. Less than a minute into the Salei minor, Brendan Shanahan capitalized on the one-man advantage and rocketed the first goal of the game past J.S. Giguere.
The Mighty Ducks refusal to challenge the Red Wings for the puck came back to haunt them. The score was now 1-0 early in the first. Not a good sign for the team who had been bested by the Red Wings every time they met in the playoffs.
The opening period was creeping to a close, and an Anaheim Ducks goal seemed to be nowhere in sight. Gaining possession of the puck, the Ducks took this as an opportunity to generate a few chances. The puck bounced right to Adam Oates, and on a backhand shot, he scored the game tieing goal 15:33 into the first.
A goal gave the Anaheim Ducks a new found confidence, dictating the tempo of the rest of the game. Giguere led his team into overtime, hunkering down between the pipes and saving shot after shot.
The Ducks success seemed short lived when it looked as though the Red Wings scored the game-winning goal. In a shocking turn of events, the officials waved it off. The call on the ice, no goal. Neither team had yet to score a goal and the game tricked into the third overtime period.
Steve Rucchin won the faceoff, giving the Ducks a chance at a goal. Paul Kariya, Anaheim Ducks hero, scored the game-winner 3:18 into the 3OT. For the first time in franchise history, the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim had defeated the Red Wings in a playoff game.