It was more than a game three surprise that the Detroit Red Wings threw at the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday night, Detroit so controlled the opening night in California that the late arriving crowd at the Pond began to leave early.
They just weren’t prepared to see their local team so out hustled, out played and out scored. With the exception of a brutal combo hit by Rob Niedermayer and Chris Pronger on Detroit’s Tomas Holmstrom, the Ducks had virtually no profile in game three.
The Wings chased JS Giguere out of the nets after three goals, his replacement Evgeni Bryzalov didn’t fare much better, giving up a goal on the first shot he faced.
For a team that thrives on the physical game, the Ducks played foolish, far too many penalties kept them from putting together a cohesive offensive attack and in the odd instances when they could get into the Detroit end for a shot, Domenic Hasek would shut them down.
Game four won’t bring much in the way of relief for the Ducks, Pronger is out with a one game suspension for his blatant foul on Holmstrom, a significant absence for a team that has seemed to have problems getting untracked in this series. While they controlled play in games one and two, goals have been hard to come by of late, Detroits win in game three gives the Wings a 2 games to 1 lead in the best of seven series, stealing another one on Thursday could very well be the momentum swing that tells the tale of this series.
Detroit has quietly gone about its business in the post season, never expected to go far, despite their division leading record, they just seem to keep winning the games they need to win.
If the Ducks have any plans on competing in the finals for Lord Stanley’s Mug, they will have to reverse that Red Wing process of winning the key games, Thursday might be about the best place to start.