DETROIT — Ryan Getzlaf has been dominant when the Anaheim Ducks have needed their captain most, scoring clutch goals in two of their three wins.
“Isn’t that what he’s supposed to do?” coach Bruce Boudreau asked after his team arrived Thursday night in Detroit. “Your best player is supposed to be your best player.”
It hasn’t worked out that way so far for the Detroit Red Wings and their captain, putting them on the brink of elimination at home in Game 6 of their first-round series against Anaheim.
Henrik Zetterberg hasn’t scored in the playoffs in nearly 13 months. He has gone a career-high seven postseason games without a goal dating to last year’s first-round setback against Nashville.
“You want to be on the scoresheet,” Zetterberg said. “All you can do is continue to work hard, keep putting pucks on the net, and hopefully one or two will sneak by the goalie.”
Two of Getzlaf’s three goals — a total that puts him among NHL leaders — helped lift the Ducks to leads in the series.
He had a short-handed goal midway through the third period of Game 3 to give Anaheim a two-goal lead in a game it won 4-0 to go ahead 2-1 in the series. He pulled the Ducks into a 2-2 tie with 31 seconds left in Game 5, helping them extend a game they took 3-2 in overtime to go ahead 3-2 in the best-of-seven matchup.
Getzlaf said the Ducks plan to match the desperation Detroit will have, hoping to avoid playing an up-for-grabs Game 7 back in Anaheim.
“We’ve worked really hard throughout the year to know what to do in these situations,” he said. “We’re excited about trying to get that win here in Detroit.”
The Red Wings, of course, have other plans and can point to Zetterberg’s past production in the playoffs as a source of optimism.
Zetterberg and Philadelphia’s Danny Briere lead the league with 48 postseason goals since 2006, according to STATS, and only Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin have produced more points in the playoffs than Zetterberg (80) since 2008.
The Swede isn’t sweating his scoring slump, or the situation the seventh-seeded Red Wings are in against a bigger and perhaps better team.
“We’ve been through this before,” Zetterberg said. “It’s first to four, not first to three.”
Zetterberg, though, wasn’t in the NHL the last time the Red Wings advanced after trailing a series 3-2.
Detroit, in its 22nd straight postseason, hasn’t won Games 6 and 7 in a series since coming back in the Western Conference finals to beat Colorado in 2002 — the season before Zetterberg’s rookie year. They went on to hoist the Stanley Cup that season.
As good as Getzlaf is, the Ducks are in the playoffs for just the second time in four years and have made it out of the first round only once — in 2009 — since he led them to a title in 2007.
He bounced back this year with a team-high 49 points in 44 games during the lockout-shortened season after slipping to third on the team in scoring last season. Getzlaf has followed his strong play with more of the same in the playoffs.
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Nick Bonino scored 1:54 into overtime, and the Ducks moved to the brink of advancing with a 3-2 victory.
Defenseman Ben Lovejoy took the puck behind the Detroit net and fed it in front. Bonino scored for the Ducks.
Johan Franzen and Mikael Samuelsson scored for the Red Wings, who had two brief leads. Jimmy Howard stopped 31 shots.
Captain Ryan Getzlaf tied it, Kyle Palmieri also scored, and Jonas Hiller made 29 saves in Anaheim's first victory in three overtime games in the series.
Bonino has scored his first three career playoff goals in each of Anaheim's three victories in this series. He ended up in front of an open net when Lovejoy made a move around Detroit's Brian Lashoff and pushed the puck across the slot as Detroit's defense concentrated on Teemu Selanne. Bonino didn't miss.
Although Anaheim outscored and outshot the Red Wings, Detroit kept pace by winning twice in overtime despite playing with a lead in just one of the first four games. In Game 4 on Monday night, Anaheim was less than seven minutes away from returning home with a chance to close out the series, but Pavel Datsyuk tied it before Damien Brunner won it in overtime.
After getting roundly outshot in Game 4, the Ducks showed obvious intentions to get into Howard's crease. They were whistled for two interference penalties in the first five minutes. Franzen converted on the Wings' second power-play chance, coming out from behind the net and tapping his own rebound underneath Hiller.
David Steckel won a faceoff and got the puck to Palmieri for a long shot through traffic. The 22-year-old Palmieri scored his first NHL playoff goal in Game 2.