Three Questions: Wings-Ducks
DRW.com analyzes Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals
The Wings struggled out of the gates in Game 6, with the Ducks outshooting them until the third period. But Detroit cranked it up a notch when they were down by two goals in the closing minutes. The Ducks’ Andrew Ebbett was whistled for tripping with just over three minutes to go in the contest, and the Wings jumped at the opportunity. Johan Franzen capped off a nice series of passing on the ensuing power play, firing in a pass from Jiri Hudler for his 8th goal of the postseason. It gave the Wings 2:25 worth of time to try to find a tying goal.
Detroit couldn’t take advantage of the opportunity, however. They pulled goaltender Chris Osgood with under a minute to go, and pressed hard. But they first struggled to get the puck into the Ducks’ zone, and then they were robbed by goaltender Jonas Hiller with two minutes remaining.
Then the fight broke out. The stars were on the ice, and that didn’t stop tensions from boiling over after the final buzzer. It ended with Pavel Datsyuk dropping the gloves with captain Scott Niedermayer, Marian Hossa going at it with Ryan Getzlaf, and the rest of the remaining players involved as well. Fifteen minutes after the contest, the online scoresheet was still being sorted out. For the final penalty results from the fight, click here.
What went wrong?
The Wings fell behind early, and they were never able to climb out of the hole. The Ducks outshot the Wings 12-8 in the first period, and the Wings weren’t helping their case by taking penalties. The Wings took five penalties even before the postgame scuffle. Two of them were delay-of-game penalties for shooting the puck over the glass in their own end. Two more for holding, and one penalty for holding meant that the Wings were in the box with frustrating calls.
How did Brian Rafalski look?
The good news for the Wings was that defenseman Brian Rafalski returned to the line-up, after missing the first five games. Coach Mike Babcock must have liked what he saw, because Rafalski was out in the closing seconds as the Wings fought for the game-tying goal. Rafalski didn’t seem to miss a beat, taking 27 shifts for 21:30 worth of ice time. The Wings’ veteran defenseman was also feeling well enough to pick up a fighting major at the end of the contest, so he should be able to go for Game 7.
On the injury notes, Jonathan Ericsson was also able to play in Game 6. Ericsson took a puck to the foot in Game 5, but the swelling wasn’t enough to keep him off the ice. The rookie defenseman played 16:16 on 21 shifts.