DETROIT -- The Anaheim Ducks had a chance to eliminate the Detroit Red Wings and advance to the second round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Red Wings had Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk, and this Western Conference Quarterfinal series will have a Game 7 because of them.
Zetterberg scored twice, including the game-winner 64 seconds into overtime, and Datsyuk added another highlight-reel tally as both Detroit superstars had three-point nights in a 4-3 victory at Joe Louis Arena to even the series at three wins each. Game 7 will be Sunday night at Honda Center in Anaheim (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS).
"Those two were kind of ugly ones, but that's what you need in the playoffs," Zetterberg said after scoring his first two goals of the series. "We started to feel the frustration when the puck doesn't go in, but at the same time we've been doing a lot of good things on our line. We just keep at it, keep shooting the pucks, maybe overshot it a little bit more and the pucks will go in eventually. Today, I don't think they were two of my hardest shots, but they found a way to go in."
Anaheim rallied from a late two-goal deficit to force overtime, but it was all Detroit in the brief extra session. The Ducks failed to break the Red Wings' pressure on multiple occasions before defenseman Ben Lovejoy iced the puck 58 seconds in. Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau called his timeout, but Zetterberg's shot from the left point through a screen beat Anaheim goalie Jonas Hiller.
Zetterberg, in his first playoff series as Detroit's captain, had not scored in the first five games of this series.
"I told the guys after the first period that we're playing not to lose instead of playing to win and you can't play like that," Boudreau said. "We didn't do it the same way we came out in overtime, and I said we had to continue playing the way we did at the end of [regulation]. We looked very tentative on that first shift before the goal -- very tentative. The icing -- we had a guy in the middle of the ice. I mean, it was a panic icing, I think. But maybe we'll learn from our mistakes, and we've still got one more to go."
The last time these teams met in the playoffs, in the 2009 Western Conference Semifinals, the series also went seven games. Detroit won 4-3 in Game 7 at home on a goal from Daniel Cleary with three minutes left in regulation.
The teams have alternated wins in this series that has lacked momentum from game to game. All three of Detroit's victories have come in overtime; in Games 2 and 6, Anaheim rallied from multiple-goal deficits in the third period to force OT.
Anaheim scored a pair of goals 51 seconds apart late in the third period to erase a 3-1 deficit and force overtime.
Emerson Etem scored with 3:28 left in regulation after a turnover by Valtteri Filppula. The Red Wings center skated to the right behind his net and left the puck, but only Etem was there, and the rookie quickly stashed it in the net before Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard could react.
Bobby Ryan and Corey Perry, both of whom have been quiet in this series, combined to tie the game with 2:37 left. Perry doesn't have a goal in the series but was able to slide the puck across the crease for Ryan to punch home -- stunning the packed house of 20,066.
"It was definitely a great comeback but ... I don't know [why] it always needs to be that we have to be two goals down to kind of like finally start playing," Hiller said. "We put pressure on the net, we finally going in harder, having that desperation which I think was lacking a little bit before that. I think in overtime everything goes quick and can happen. They got a little lucky that shot went off something. I have to look at it again.
"If you don't play at your best the whole game long, at some point it's going to cost you. I think it did."
Datsyuk ended an incredible shift near the end of the first period with a highlight-reel goal to put Detroit in front. After already making multiple plays to keep the Red Wings in control of the puck, Datsyuk helped a wayward shot from the right point into the left corner. Zetterberg, facing the boards, backhanded a pass into the left circle to Datsyuk, who had cut away from defenseman Francois Beauchemin. Datsyuk collected the pass, then turned Ryan Getzlaf around with a deke before backhanding a shot into the top corner past a screened Hiller at 18:48.
"They're huge leaders," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said of Datsyuk and Zetterberg. "You talk about the leadership on our team -- we had Stevie [Yzerman] and Nick [Lidstrom] -- but those guys had way more help. Those guys have had an unbelievable amount of pressure."
Anaheim responded at 11:31 of the second when Kyle Palmieri got credit for his third goal of the series. Etem intercepted a pass by Detroit defenseman Kyle Quincey in the neutral zone and hit Palmieri, who found space to the outside and fired a shot off the left post behind Howard. The puck popped into the air and hit Red Wings defenseman Brendan Smith in the midsection before bouncing into the net.
Palmieri, Etem and David Steckel, who may have deflected Quincey's outlet pass before Etem collected it, have spent the majority of their minutes on the fourth line for the Ducks but have combined for six goals and 11 points in the series.
Zetterberg put the Red Wings in front for the second time at 6:19 of the third period. He wound up with a slap shot from the top of the left circle and it squeezed past Hiller with Johan Franzen providing a screen in front.
Justin Abdelkader, back from a two-game suspension for a hit on Anaheim's Toni Lydman, helped make it 3-1 for the Red Wings seconds after a power play expired. Filppula's shot was just wide, but Abdelkader collected the puck along the left wall and threw a shot at the net that deflected off Cleary and in at 11:30.
Now it's a winner-take-all game back in Southern California. The Ducks will be trying to win a playoff series for the first time since 2009, while the Red Wings will be trying to reach the second round for the sixth time in seven years.
"I've been fortunate enough to win some Game 7s, and lose some, on Game 7," Babcock said. "I've lost at home and on the road and won that way too. So it's just a big game. We've got to enjoy our evening here. Have a nice travel day tomorrow and get ready to play.
"We're excited. We said all along, the shorter we could make the series, advantage us. You can't make it any shorter than this."