ANAHEIM, Calif. — The forecast looked so pleasant: A three-goal lead, in the third period.
The Ducks cast a dark cloud on that, taking advantage of a subpar performance from Jimmy Howard to rally and force overtime Thursday night at Honda Center in Game 2 of the first-round series. Gustav Nyquist won the game 1:21 into overtime, converting on another power play to give the Wings a 5-4 victory and a split in Anaheim.
Justin Abdelkader and Damien Brunner provided a two-goal cushion before five minutes had passed. Johan Franzen converted on a power play in the second period, left the period in obvious pain after being hit in a particularly tender area, came out to start the third period and scored on another power play.
The Wings came into the game determined to show Tuesday’s loss was an aberration; that they hadn’t regressed from the team that carried a four-game winning streak into the playoffs. One minor lineup change was made, with Todd Bertuzzi replacing Jordin Tootoo.
They backed up their talk with energy and effort, at one point holding a three-goal lead, then let up and watched the Ducks score three goals in the third period, with Bobby Ryan making it 4-4 with 2:22 to go in regulation.
The Wings couldn’t have scripted a much better start: Abdelkader stick-handling through the Ducks zone after getting the puck and beating Jonas Hiller less than a minute after the game began. It was a reversal of roles, but no complaints from the bench. It got even better at 4:20, when Teemu Selanne, who burned the Wings for the game-winning goal in Game 1, bad a horrible decision to send the puck cross-ice in his own zone. The puck bounced straight into the slot, where Brunner put it top shelf for his first playoff goal.
There wasn’t much to be done offensively after that, as the Ducks ended up with a 21-second two-man advantage as part of a long power play opportunity. Howard ended up making a dozen saves during the period, including keeping away Selanne on an early chance and making a glove save on Corey Perry. The Ducks’ increased frustration resulted in a charging call on Saku Koivu, giving the Wings a power play to start the second period.
Franzen converted from just outside the crease, banging at the puck until it slipped behind Hiller. Saku Koivu replied on a Ducks power play, slipping Selanne’s rebound behind Howard. Franzen scored again 20 seconds into the third period, finishing a play that began with Brunner holding onto the puck along the boards to find Henrik Zetterberg. Ryan Getzlaf made things interesting when he threw a backhand on net at 7:50, and Kyle Palmieri added to the intensity when he sent a shot over Howard’s left shoulder with 7:29 to play in regulation.