The wacky 2002-2003 Game One home ice jinx has spread throughout the NHL. The Red Wings succumbed with a 2-1 loss in triple overtime to the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, making the New Jersey Devils the only one of the teams with home ice advantage to win their playoff opener.
The Red Wings started out quite well. They got a power play chance early when Ruslan Salei was sent to the box for holding, and good passing allowed the Wings to capitalize. Igor Larionov sent the puck up to Tomas Holmstrom behind the net. Holmstrom sent it out across the goal crease, and Brendan Shanahan was able to wrist the puck in past goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere.
Anaheim was able to get on the scoreboard late in the first period. Kurt Sauer took a shot on net from the right boards. The shot was deflected by Mike Leclerc on its way through. Curtis Joseph was able to make the save, but the rebound slid out at an awkward angle and Adam Oates was able to get to it and flip it into the net.
The Ducks came on strong in the second and third periods. They had a golden opportunity to score late in the second: 29 seconds of 5-on-3 power play time with Mathieu Schneider and Darren McCarty both in the penalty box. Fortunately for Detroit, Steve Yzerman won the faceoff and sent the puck deep into the Ducks’ zone, killing off most of the 5-on-3. Joseph was amazing in net and was the key reason the game went to overtime.
The Red Wings completely dominated the first two overtime periods. Luc Robitaille thought he won the game with 10:39 left in the first overtime, but review showed that his shot deflected off the bottom of the crossbar and never crossed the goal line.
That was the way it went for Detroit in overtime. Shots were blocked. Shots were deflected up and out of play. Shots rebounded in just the right spots that no Red Wings could get to them easily. In the end, though, the game belonged to Giguere, who had a phenomenal game, stopping 63 of the 64 shots he faced and setting a new record for a goaltender in his playoff debut. In the end, Giguere kept the Ducks in the game, knowing that an overtime game is a one shot game.
That one vital shot came early in the third overtime period. The faceoff came to be deep in the Red Wings’ zone. Steve Rucchin won the faceoff back to Paul Kariya, who sent a hard wrist shot over the shoulder of Curtis Joseph. Joseph was accidentally screened by Sergei Fedorov, and couldn’t see the shot coming until it was too late.
The Red Wings will regroup and come back at it on Saturday afternoon to try to even up the series with their second home game.