ANAHEIM, Calif. – A 27-minute power outage at Honda Center wasn’t enough to short circuit the Red Wings’ offense Sunday night. For the second straight day the Wings scored four times en route to completing a two-game Southern California sweep with a 4-2 victory over the Ducks.
“I thought we were dominant before (the power outage) and we weren’t nearly as focused after that,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “I thought that as soon as we got relaxed and got away from it and started turning over some pucks and weren’t physical on their D and weren’t playing in their zone, now the game’s on.”
Powered by a pair of quick goals to begin the first and second periods, the Wings built themselves a 3-0 lead on goals by Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen and Brad Stuart. However, the Ducks came to life in the second half of the game and Jimmy Howard had to come up with several key saves to preserve the Wings’ second win in consecutive days. He made 31 saves on 33 Ducks’ shots.
“They were coming hard, they don’t stop,” Howard said. “They’re a hard-working team and they throw pucks at the net, and they crash the net and make the goaltender’s life tough. But our guys did a great job of clearing pucks and helping me out in front of the net.”
Before the power delay, the Wings grabbed a 1-0 lead when Henrik Zetterberg scored his first goal in seven games. The Wings’ center stole the puck from Ducks center Brandon McMillan in the low slot and lifted a back-hand shot that beat goalie Jonas Hiller high to the short side at 1:26.
A few minutes later the house lights flickered then dimmed, while the giant scoreboard above center ice, along with the TV monitors in the press box, went blank with 13:47 left in the period.
It was the second time in less than a week that an outage disrupted a Ducks’ game at Honda Center. The start of the third period in last Thursday’s game against Los Angeles was delayed for approximately 15-minutes as arena officials dealt with an electrical problem, which they said was completely unrelated to Sunday’s issue.
After concurring with NHL off-ice officials, the referees sent both teams to their respective locker rooms to wait out the delay.
Once the game restarted, Howard was called upon to make a few key saves, including a stop on Bobby Ryan, who tried a wrap-around attempt late in the period. Ryan swept a backhand shot along the ice to the opposite side the crease, where Howard sprawled to make a save with the knob-end of his goalie stick.
The second period started out in the same fashion as the first for the Wings, who made it 2-0 just 14-seconds into the period. Pavel Datsyuk intercepted Cam Fowler’s cross-ice pass in the neutral zone and sent Franzen in alone on a breakaway. Franzen made no mistake, wristing a hard shot past Hiller’s blocker. The Wings are now 10-0-0 in games when Franzen registers a point.
After a slow start this season, it was good to see Datsyuk (two assists) and Zetterberg (goal, assist) beginning to contribute offensively.
“We’ve always leaned on them, they always come through for us,” Franzen said. “It’s only a matter of time before they get coming, but everyone’s got to chip in even when they are going. Everyone knows that they have to come to play every night.”
Detroit went up 3-0 when Stuart scored his second goal of the season. The Wings defenseman stepped up in the play, and with Todd Bertuzzi setting a screen in front of Hiller, he fired a shot from the right circle that found the back of the net at 7:10.
The Ducks got back into the game when Saku Koivu’s slap shot from the right circle beat Howard to the glove side at 11:24.
Anaheim nearly scored a second quick goal, but referee Kyle Rehman waved off a goal by Ryan that was kept out of the net when Howard reached behind his body with his left catching hand and in one motion prevented the puck from crossing the goal line.
The referee’s call was confirmed by video replay, which was inconclusive.
“It was just desperation,” Howard said, of the stop on Ryan. “They had (Corey) Perry there in front doing a good job screening me. The puck went into Perry’s body and you lose it for a second but it just happened to pop out and I had enough time to get across.”
Anaheim out-shot the Wings in the middle frame, 19-12, and trimmed its deficit to one-goal when Teemu Selanne scored on the power play at 16:21.
The Wings did a nice job of possessing the puck and limiting the Ducks’ chances in the third period, especially on Anaheim’s first power play of the period when Howard made two big saves, including a stellar stop on a bouncing puck by Selanne.
The Wings’ penalty-killing was terrific late when Jonathan Ericsson went off for hooking at 17:26. The PK did a fine job of clearing the zone, highlighted by Danny Cleary’s diving play to tip the puck out of the zone.
“Those PKs were big for us,” Stuart said. “We want to stay aggressive and put pressure on them to make plays. They make a great play to beat us, well then hats off to them. We want to make it hard on them and we did a good job and Howie was there when we needed him. It was a big point in the game, no doubt.”
The Ducks pulled Hiller in favor of a sixth attacker, but Stuart was rewarded with his second goal of the game when he fired a shot off the boards and into the net at 19:12. Stuart, who already has three goals this season had just one all of last season.
“For me it’s not about scoring goals, it’s about being hard on the defensive side of the puck and killing penalties and all of that,” Stuart said. “The goals are a nice bonus, but I feel that overall it was a pretty good game.”
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