The Red Wings closed out their five-game homestand on a high note, outplaying, outshooting, and finally outscoring the Anaheim Mighty Ducks in a 2-1 overtime victory.
Detroit outplayed the Ducks with great vigor in the first period, doubling the shots on net 10-5, in spite of two power plays for Anaheim and none for Detroit. Even so, the goaltenders were superb, with both Curtis Joseph and Jean-Sebastien Giguere turning away some high quality scoring chances to end the first in a 0-0 tie.
The Red Wings continued their dominance in the second period, but the Mighty Ducks were able to capitalize on a defensive miscue to take the lead. The Red Wings’ defensemen had joined the play and were in the Anaheim zone, with Pavel Datsyuk back to defend. When Stanislav Chistov made a pass to spring Andy McDonald on a breakaway, Datsyuk wasn’t quite sure of the defensive move to make, and McDonald got around him. Joseph blocked McDonald’s low shot, sprawling, but Petr Sykora followed the play to the net and flipped the rebound into the net over the goalie.
Detroit continued to work hard to score, refusing to let the goal shake them. Darren McCarty, Kirk Maltby, and Kris Draper caused trouble for the Ducks every time they stepped on the ice. Returning defenseman Dmitri Bykov made several wise defensive moves to block shots and steal the puck, keeping Anaheim from increasing their lead. Luc Robitaille, Igor Larionov, and Tomas Holmstrom were everywhere in the Duck’s end of the rink, wreaking havoc and creating scoring chances, but Giguere continued to frustrate them until the third period.
Robitaille’s hard work and Brett Hull‘s ability to find open ice created the goal. Robitaille intercepted a clearing pass and headed towards the net. Giguere gave him no angle to shoot at, so Robitaille carried the puck behind the net. Instead of attempting a wraparound goal, Robitaille fired a quick pass to Hull, who had managed to position himself in front of the net without being noticed. Giguere was still trying to watch Robitaille behind him, and he had no chance to stop Hull’s hard one-timer shot that tied the game. “I thought he was going to shoot,” Hull said. “And when he didn’t, I just went to an open spot.”
The third period and eventual overtime continued with superior goaltending and scoring chances for both teams. Joseph rose to the occasion…. or flopped down on the ice (kind of like that goalie the Wings had last year), or went into the butterfly position, or stood straight up with his glove hand ready…. whatever physical contortions were necessary to stop the shots by an increasingly desperate Anaheim team, Joseph was prepared for them.
Finally, with only twenty-one seconds remaining in overtime, Sergei Fedorov decided it was time to net his sixth game-winning goal of the season. Chris Chelios left a drop pass to Fedorov. Giguere was being screened by Brendan Shanahan, and Fedorov’s lightning-quick shot found its way past Giguere for the win.
Over the course of the game, Joseph made 25 saves on 26 shots, while Giguere stopped 43 of the 44 he faced. The Red Wings leave town after this game for a trip to Toronto, where they will face the Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre.
Fedorov’s goal was his 11th of the season, tying him for first place in the NHL. The other player in the top spot is Marion Gaborik of the Minnesota Wild. The goal also made Fedorov the all-time leader in regular season overtime goals, with a total of 12 in his career.