Red Wings Down Ducks to take 3-2 Series Lead

Four different players scored for the Detroit Red Wings Sunday, carrying the team to a 4-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks and giving the Red Wings a 3-2 lead in their Western Conference Semifinal series.

Chris Osgood stopped 16 of the 17 shots he faced in net for Detroit, helping the team capitalize on the low number of shots allowed.

The Red Wings outshot the Ducks 14 to three in the first period but neither team got on the board until Johan Franzen scored at 3:23 of the second.

Justin Abdelkader, making in his first postseason appearance in place of the injured Tomas Kopecky, moved the puck on a rush to Franzen at the Anaheim blue line. Franzen stepped up and snapped a shot off of the crossbar and in behind Anaheim netminder Jonas Hiller.

Just 39 seconds later, Jiri Hudler made it 2-0.

Henrik Zetterberg drove a shot on net that Hiller stopped but the rebound popped into the air. Hudler followed it up, whacking the puck in behind Hiller just after it dropped below crossbar height.

Ryan Whitney scored Anaheim’s only goal with 4:23 left in the period and the Ducks on a power play, snapping a shot past Osgood after a scramble left Detroit’s defense spun around and Osgood screened.

Darren Helm scored his first goal of the playoffs to restore the two-goal lead with 3:08 left in regulation, banging home a rebound after a goalmouth scramble with Dan Cleary and Henrik Zetterberg.

Zetterberg added an empty net goal for the second consecutive game, finishing off the scoring.

Each team had three power play chances. Anaheim made good on one of theirs while the Red Wings were held without a power play goal.

Hiller made 34 saves on 37 shots in the Ducks’ net.

Detroit played again without Brian Rafalski and Kris Draper, while adding Kopecky to the list of injured Wings… Derek Meech joined Abdelkader making his playoff debut, subbing in for Chris Chelios.

Abdelkader Replaces Kopecky in Game Five Lineup

Early news on Sunday’s Game Five… Justin Abdelkader will replace Tomas Kopecky in the Detroit lineup.

Kopecky is out after taking a hard punch in his fight with Anaheim’s Francois Beauchemin in Game Four.

The News has Mike Babcock‘s reasoning for going with Abdelkader over Ville Leino or Aaron Downey. All three forwards were called up after the Grand Rapids Griffins were eliminated from the playoffs, along with defenseman Jakub Kindl and goalie Jimmy Howard.

“Because he’ll run over people,” Babcock said of Abdelkader. “We expect him to play hard like (Darren) Helm. He’s on the forecheck and he’s a physical guy. He scored 23 goals for them (Grand Rapids) this season and was one of their best players in the playoffs.”

Brian Rafalski and Kris Draper are doubtful for the game. No word from the Ducks on the status of James Wisniewski.