Lucky Ducks on top
OT win pushes Detroit to brink
DETROIT -- The Anaheim Ducks were within a minute of losing a game that could have led to the end of their season.
In overtime, Teemu Selanne had a split-second to decide what to do with the puck. He made the right choice.
Selanne scored 11:57 into the extra period and lifted Anaheim to a 2-1 comeback win over the Detroit Red Wings yesterday and a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference finals.
With 47.3 seconds left in regulation, Scott Niedermayer's deflected shot fluttered over Dominik Hasek's glove on a power play to tie the game and force overtime.
Andreas Lilja, who scored Detroit's lone goal, turned the puck over by missing it in front to Selanne. The Ducks forward made a quick move before sending a backhander over a sprawling Hasek.
"Everything happened so quickly," Selanne said. "You don't have enough time to plan anything.
"But I've been practicing that move my whole life. I knew I had to get it up. He goes down and covers up everything down low."
Lilja said he messed up on the play.
"It's not supposed to happen, but it happens," he said. "It hurts, but we have to put this behind us and move on."
Game 6 is tomorrow night in Anaheim, where the Ducks will have a chance to win their third straight game in the series to advance to the Stanley Cup finals for the second time. Detroit coach Mike Babcock led Anaheim past the Red Wings en route to the 2003 finals.
If Game 7 is necessary, it will be played Thursday night in Detroit.
Eastern Conference champion Ottawa, which eliminated Buffalo Saturday, will open the Stanley Cup finals on the road against this series winner.
The Red Wings had plenty of chances to score more goals but finished 0 for 7 on the power play. Detroit had a man advantage that started 7:53 into overtime, but couldn't get the puck past Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who improved to 12-1 after regulation in the playoffs.
"We couldn't score," Hasek said. "They pull the goalie and score on a deflection off my defenseman's stick.
"It was a lucky goal, but it still counts the same as the others."
Lilja scored his first playoff goal at 6:13 of the second period, and Detroit clung to the one-goal lead.
The Ducks didn't quit and it paid off.
Pavel Datsyuk was called for interference with 1:47 to go and Anaheim took advantage of the opportunity, pulling Giguere for a six-on-four skating edge.
"It's a good move -- when it works," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said.
Niedermayer's shot from the left circle was lifted off the ice by the stick of fellow Norris Trophy winner Nicklas Lidstrom as the Detroit defenseman tried to block it. Hasek didn't seem to see the puck until it was already in the net.
"That's hockey," Babcock said. "But when that break goes our way, we don't overanalyze that. We just take the break. When it goes against you, I don't think you want to spend a whole lot of time analyzing that."
Red Wings forward Johan Franzen reacted to the tying goal by throwing his stick in disgust shortly after he failed to clear the defensive zone.
Detroit controlled the puck and play for much of regulation, leading to Hasek facing just 18 shots after three periods. He finished with 24 saves.
Giguere was much busier, keeping the Ducks in the game with 33 saves in regulation and finishing with 36 stops.