Dan Cleary scored with just three minutes remaining Thursday night, lifting the Detroit Red Wings to a 4-3 win over the Anaheim Ducks in the deciding Game Seven of their Western Conference Semifinal matchup.
The Red Wings now advance to face the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference Finals.
Cleary’s goal broke a 3-3 tie in the game’s final minutes. Henrik Zetterberg put the puck to the front of the net and Cleary jammed it past Anaheim netminder Jonas Hiller.
Detroit had opened the scoring with a power play goal with 4:17 left in the first period. Johan Franzen snapped a shot on net and Jiri Hudler tipped the puck past Hiller to get the Wings on the board.
Darren Helm put Detroit up by a pair just 1:17 into the second, beating Hiller on a breakaway.
Teemu Selanne notched a goal with 5:10 left in the second period, jamming the puck in from the side of the net with Detroit goalie Chris Osgood stuck at the top of the crease.
Mikael Samuelsson restored the two-goal lead for Detroit just 33 seconds later, putting a wrister past Hiller on a feed from Pavel Datsyuk, who took a hit behind the net to make the play.
Corey Perry put in a rebound for a power play goal before the end of the period, scoring with 2:48 left in the second.
Bobby Ryan tied things up 7:37 into the third, tipping the puck past Osgood on a feed from Perry.
Osgood finished the night with 24 saves on 27 shots against. Hiller stopped 36 of 40 Detroit chances.
Each team finished the night one-for-five on the power play. The Red Wings had 22 seconds of five-on-three time while the Ducks had a two-man advantage twice for a total of 1:45.
The Red Wings will be off until Sunday when they open at home against Chicago.
Kris Draper made his first appearance of the postseason for the Red Wings, returning from an upper-body injury to replace Kirk Maltby in the lineup… With the Carolina Hurricanes’ win over the Boston Bruins, Detroit has the highest remaining seed in the playoffs, and would have home ice advantage in the Stanley Cup Finals.