ANAHEIM, Calif. — Former University of Maine hockey player Gustav Nyquist rescued the Detroit Red Wings from a major disappointment.
Nyquist scored a power-play goal 1:21 into overtime and the Red Wings regrouped to earn a 5-4 victory over the Anaheim Ducks late Thursday night at the Honda Center.
The game-winner occurred after the Red Wings blew a three-goal lead in the third period. Bobby Ryan’s goal tied the score with 2:22 left in the regulation and forced overtime.
The Red Wings evened the Western Conference quarterfinal series at a game apiece. The next two games are Saturday and Monday in Detroit.
“The puck kind of just jumped up on my stick,” Nyquist said of his overtime goal. “It was a crazy game, [and] obviously the crowd was into it. But we came in [the locker room] before overtime, and our leaders just said we should just get back to the way we were playing. Fortunately, we did.”
Goalie Jimmy Howard, also a former UMaine star, stopped 28 shots for Detroit, while Anaheim’s Jonas Hiller recorded 27 saves.
Johan Franzen gave the Red Wings a 4-1 advantage with the second of his two goals, a power-play tally 20 seconds into the final period. However, Anaheim launched a furious rally, getting consecutive goals by Ryan Getzlaf at 7:50, Kyle Palmieri at 12:31 and then Ryan, sending the sell-out crowd of 17,182 into a frenzy.
Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau hoped his club could finish the deal in regulation because the Red Wings were clearly rattled.
“I knew they would regain their composure [in overtime],” Boudreau said. “And they had the fortune of starting off overtime with a power play.”
Anaheim defenseman Sheldon Souray was penalized for slashing with 38 seconds remaining in regulation, much to the chagrin of the Ducks. However, Boudreau refused to use it as an excuse.
“I’m not here to talk about the officiating,” the coach said at the postgame press conference.
Said Souray, “It was a tough call. Tough way to end it.”
Damien Brunner had a goal and two assists, and Pavel Datsyuk added two assists for Detroit, which captured its third victory in four outings at the Honda Center this season.
Palmieri, Ryan and Saku Koivu each had a goal and an assist for the Ducks, who won the team’s only regular-season meeting in Detroit.
“It was imperative that we got the split. Even though it wasn’t as pretty as we would have liked, we still got it,” Howard said. “Now it’s 1-1, and I’m sure everyone can’t wait to get back to Detroit.”
Anaheim trailed 3-0 until Koivu scored a power play goal at 10:53 of the second period. Still, the Red Wings appeared to be in control of the contest.
“The team never quits,” Boudreau said. “It didn’t surprise me when Getzlaf made it 4-2 and I looked up and saw how much time was left, that there was still that opportunity to get another one and then anything can happen. And it did.”
Detroit scored twice in the opening five minutes. Justin Abdelkader, on an assist from Datsyuk, gave the Red Wings a lead 48 seconds into the game by slipping a wrist shot past Hiller.
After Anaheim’s Teemu Selanne and Cam Fowler failed to connect on a pass, Brunner grabbed the loose puck between the circles and beat Hiller with a shot for a 2-0 advantage at 4:20 of the first.
A charging penalty on Koivu at the end of the first period proved to be costly. Franzen converted on the power play, rebounding a miss by Brunner in a scrum in front of the Ducks’ net and scoring at 1:04 of the second for a 3-0 lead.
“Big start for us. We came out flying,” Nyquist said. “That’s how we wanted to come out. Obviously it was something we had talked about it before because we didn’t come out that way in Game 1. We needed to come out with energy. That’s the way we wanted to play.”
The Red Wings didn’t play the way they wanted down the stretch in regulation. However, they regained their composure before overtime.
“It’s hard to settle your team down, kids on the road, in the playoffs, in a building that is going to be louder when you call a timeout,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. “You add it all up, and we scored a big goal in overtime to win it.”
NOTES: Detroit rookie defenseman Danny DeKeyser suffered a broken thumb and is done for the postseason. … Hiller led all active goaltenders with a cumulative playoff save percentage of .943 (515-of-546) entering Game 2. … After being a healthy scratch for Game 1, Detroit’s Todd Bertuzzi saw 7 minutes, 14 seconds of playing time in Game 2. Mikael Samuelsson, who was held out of Game 1, and Jordin Tootoo were scratches for the Red Wings, while Luca Sbisa and Radek Dvorak were among the scratches for the Ducks.