ANAHEIM, Calif. – Gustav Nyquist got the message late Thursday night.
“Our leaders stepped up and told us what to do,” said Nyquist, whose first career playoff overtime goal saved the Red Wings from certain destruction in their Western Conference quarterfinals against the Ducks.
With the Ducks already up 1-0 in the series, and inclined to win Game 2 after erasing a 4-1 deficit in the third period, Nyquist’s game-winner just 81-seconds into overtime allowed the Red Wings to collectively breathe a sigh of relief inside Honda Center.
“We knew we were playing good before they came back on us,” Nyquist said. “We had to get back to playing. We kind of stopped there for a while and that obviously cost us. … Fortunately we got the win.”
After the Ducks tied the score at 4-4 on consecutive goals from Ryan Getzlaf, Kyle Palmieri and Bobby Ryan, they took a bad penalty when defenseman Sheldon Souray slashed Justin Abdelkader with 38-seconds left in regulation.
“It was a crazy game and obviously the crowd was into it too,” Nyquist said. “They tied it up on us, but when we came in here (after the third period) I think our leaders said just get back to the way we were playing. We knew we had a big power play coming up so we tried to capitalize on that and fortunately we did.”
Nyquist’s goal – his first-ever playoff point in six career Stanley Cup playoff games – was set-up by center Valtteri Filppula, who made a dandy play to dance around the Ducks’ Corey Perry near the right side of the Anaheim cage. It was there that Filppula slid a backhand pass across the slot to Nyquist who had a big target to shoot at.
“Fil made an unbelievable play, obviously,” said Nyquist, who scored with two-seconds remaining in Souray’s minor. “It was almost an empty net for me so I just tried to put it on net.”
The Ducks seemed to be doing everything right early on. They held an edge in shots on goal, hits and face-offs won. But they also had four giveaways, including a pair of costly ones that the Red Wings converted into an early 2-0 lead. And Abdelkader made the Ducks pay, scoring on the Wings’ first shot of the game after a neutral zone turnover by Anaheim. Abdelkader coasted into the offensive zone and used Francois Beauchemin to screen goalie Jonas Hiller.
“I just grabbed the puck on the side boards, got around the first guy and got in front of the D,” said Abdelkader, who finished with a personal playoff-best six shots on goal. “Tried to use him as a screen and get a shot off there and kind of caught Hiller off guard.”
Less than four-minutes later, the Red Wings’ aggressive forecheck – something that was missing in Game 1 – caused another turnover. This time it was Joakim Andersson’s check on the Ducks’ Teemu Selanne, who forced an errant pass into the middle of the zone where Damien Brunner picked it off and wristed a quick shot past Hiller for a 2-0 edge.
“We came out jumping and that’s how we want to come out,” Nyquist said. “We talked about it before. We didn’t come out the way we wanted to in the first game. Obviously it’s something that we talked about. It’s something that we have to do every game.”
BAD NEWS: Following the game, coach Mike Babcock said that rookie defenseman Danny DeKeyser is out for the rest of the season with a fractured right thumb, which was in a hand cast following the game. The injury to the 23-year-old Detroit native occurred sometime during the third period.
“When we lost DeKeyser that was a big blow,” Babcock said.
Since making his NHL debut on April 5 in Colorado, DeKeyser has drawn rave reviews from the Red Wings’ coaching staff for his swift skating, along with his ability to efficiently move the puck out of the defensive zone.
It’s not known who will take his place in the lineup for Saturday’s Game 3 at Joe Louis Arena, but the Wings have three defensemen ready to step in with Carlo Colaiacovo, Brian Lashoff and Ian White all available.
FRANZEN’S PAIR: For the first time in almost three years, Johan Franzen enjoyed a multiple-goal game, netting two in the Red Wings’ win Thursday night. It’s the Mule’s sixth multi-goal playoff game of his career.
Franzen was roughed up a few times Thursday. First he struck by a stick below the belt in the waning seconds of the second period. He then was hit above the shoulders late in the third period that required him to undergo concussion testing as a precaution. While he missed the overtime period, he did not sustain a concussion and will play Saturday back in Detroit.
“It’s a fun time of year,” Franzen said when ask why he plays so well in the playoffs. “You can’t leave anything out there. It’s usually my type of hockey. Throw pucks to the net and try to get in there and find pucks and find rebounds.
With his two goals, Franzen now has 75 career points in 90 playoffs games, moving him ahead of Brendan Shanahan and Norm Ullman into 11th place on the franchise’s all-time playoff points list.
DYNAMIC DATSYUK: Center Pavel Datsyuk was a dynamo in the face-off circle in Game 2, winning 20-of-28 draws against the Ducks. That’s just five fewer faceoff wins than the Ducks had as a team.
Datsyuk, who also two assists Thursday – the 22nd multi-point playoff game of his career – faced eight different Ducks’ players in the circle going 15-for-15 against six of them: Ryan Getzlaf (7), Andrew Cogliano (3), Nick Bonino (3), Corey Perry (1), David Steckel (1) and Daniel Winnik (1).
Datsyuk’s only faceoff losses came against Saku Koivu (5-of-12) and Kyle Palmieri (0-for-1).
Datsyuk was strongest in the neutral zone in Game 2, winning 79 percent of his draws, going 11-of-14. He was 6-of-8 in the offensive zone, and 3-of-6 in the defensive end.
THREE STARS: 3, Kyle Palmieri, ANA (1 goal, 1 assist); 2, Bobby Ryan, ANA (1 goal, 1 assist); 1, Gustav Nyquist, DET (1 goal).
Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Rooseh
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