In a series that has hinged on momentum swings and intense play, the Detroit Red Wings and Anaheim Ducks squared off in a pivotal Game 3 tonight, looking to take control of this Western Conference semifinal series. However, it was the Ducks who would benefit from some questionable officiating, swinging the momentum back in their corner.
The Red Wings came out looking to set an aggressive pace, but struggled to gain the upper hand. Anaheim clearly dominated the neutral zone early on, and stymied Detroit on their breakout attempts while forcing errant passes from the defending champs. The Wings also struggled to win face offs early, and Anaheim ended up controlling the pace throughout most of the first. After a bad turnover by Brett Lebda, Ryan Carter threaded a pass up the middle to Teemu Selanne who burst by the overmatched Chris Chelios to beat Chris Osgood right under his blocker. After another failed Red Wings power play, the period ended with the Ducks holding a 1-0 lead.
The second period opened up in a similar fashion to the first, with Anaheim maintaining control of the pace and physicality. After a questionable interference call on Brad Stuart, Anaheim would turn a power play into a goal, as Scott Niedermayer would knock both the puck and Osgood into the net on a Ryan Getzlaf rebound, putting the Ducks up 2-0. With the Wings badly needing a goal, Henrik Zetterberg would come to the rescue, poking the puck by Jonas Hiller on a power play late in the period, to cut the lead to 2-1 heading into the intermission.
The Wings looked to carry the intensity of the end of the second into the third, and came out with a fury. After failing to capitalize on an Andrew Ebbett penalty, the Wings would get another chance late in the period when Drew Miller would head to the box. However, the Wings couldn't capitalize and would be forced to pull Osgood with 1:26 left in the game. However, the excitement was only heating up.
With just over a minute to play in the game, Marian Hossa was able to charge in and tap in a loose puck after a Scott Niedermayer turnover, presumably tying the game with 1:04 to play. However, referee Brad Watson had blown the play dead just before the puck crossed the line, as he had lost sight of the puck in the crease. However, video replay showed that the puck clearly sitting in the crease to the side of Hiller, in plain sight of both players and spectators. As the play was non-reviewable, time would eventually run out, giving the Ducks a 2-1 win and a 2-1 series lead.
Chris' Red Wing of the Game
Hank was the only one to score, so he gets this by default.
Game 4 will take place on Thursday in Anaheim. Puck drops at 10:30 PM, and the game can be seen on Versus.