The Detroit Red Wings beat the Anaheim Ducks 3-2 in Game 7 on Sunday night to advance to the second round of the NHL playoffs. Captain Henrik Zetterberg led the way with an early goal as the Red Wings held on late to upset the Ducks in the first round.
Anaheim finished the regular season as one of the hottest teams in the NHL, just behind the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference. They now will go home early while the Red Wings advance to face the Blackhawks in the second round.
Zetterberg got Detroit on the board just under two minutes into the first period on Sunday as he beat Ducks’ goaltender Jonas Hiller to give the Red Wings a 1-0 lead. Rookie Emerson Etem evened the score midway through the period for the Ducks before Justin Abdelkader lit the lamp with a shorthanded goal.
Adbelkader stole a pass from Francois Beauchemin near his own blue line and took off down the ice for a breakaway. He beat Hiller through the five-hole to give the Red Wings a 2-1 lead going into the second period.
After a slow start to the second period, Valtteri Filppula added to the Red Wings’ lead with his first goal of the playoffs just over 13 minutes into the frame. With a 3-1 lead, goaltender Jimmy Howard took over and held off the Ducks for a first round upset.
The Red Wings played a defensive third period while managing five shots and held on after a late scare by the Ducks. Beauchemin scored on the powerplay with 3:17 remaining to cut Detroit’s lead to one but it wouldn’t be enough as Jimmy Howard stopped the Ducks last few rushes to end the game.
Howard started every game in the first round for the Red Wings and capped off the series by stopping 31-of-33 shots Sunday to advance. Here are video highlights of the Red Wings’ huge win in Game 7:
The Red Wings, who sneaked into the playoffs with four straight wins to end the regular season, will now move on to face the best team in 2013. The Chicago Blackhawks strung together 24 straight games with a point to start the season and cruised the rest of the way before beating the Minnesota Wild in five games in the first round of the playoffs.
The Blackhawks will look start where they left off with Detroit as they have won the last seven meetings against the Red Wings. Are the Blackhawks too strong or will the Detroit Red Wings continue rolling into the second round for another upset in the Western Conference playoffs?
[Image via Michael Miller]