Detroit Red Wings finish off Ducks 3-2 in Game 7

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 13, 2013 at 1:04 am •  Published: May 13, 2013
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ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — The Detroit Red Wings had firm control of Game 7 right up until Henrik Zetterberg accidentally shot the puck over the glass in the waning minutes.

While the captain sat in the box, the Anaheim Ducks scored on the power play to trim Detroit's lead to one goal.

Zetterberg worried he had unleashed another crazy finish in this wild series.

Instead, the Red Wings coolly wrapped things up on the coast and calmly moved on to an even bigger challenge much closer to home.

Zetterberg and Valtteri Filppula each had a goal and an assist, and the Red Wings finished off Anaheim with a 3-2 victory Sunday night.

Justin Abdelkader scored a short-handed goal and Jimmy Howard made 31 saves as the seventh-seeded Red Wings won three of the first-round series' final four games to oust the Ducks, who had the NHL's third-best record in the regular season.

"We did a great job getting off to a good start, and then we protected it there at the end," said Zetterberg, who scored three goals in the series' final two games after getting blanked in the first five. "A lot of us have been in tough situations like this before, so we knew how to play this type of game."

Detroit faces top-seeded Chicago in the second round, and the Red Wings already are relishing the prospect of shorter flights during their final postseason in the Western Conference.

After the clubs played four overtimes in the series' first six games, the Red Wings largely dominated the anti-climactic clincher — and for the first time in the series, the Wings didn't even need overtime to win.

Sure, things got tense after Francois Beauchemin's power-play goal off Jonathan Ericsson's skate in front of Howard with 3:17 to play, but Anaheim never really got close to a tying goal.

"It just says there's no quit in this dressing room," Howard said. "The belief in here is we can play with anybody."

His penalty notwithstanding, Detroit got a big finish from Zetterberg, their Stanley Cup-winning captain, who scored just 1:49 into Game 7 on a rebound in the slot. Zetterberg finished with seven points in the series' final three games after just one assist in the first four.

"It was not the best move by me, so it was tough to sit in the box," Zetterberg said. "But we still had a one-goal lead, and we've been in these situations so many times before."

After winning a Game 7 on the road for just the third time in their franchise's lengthy history, the Red Wings are in the second round for the sixth time in seven seasons.

Detroit didn't clinch its 22nd straight playoff spot until its final regular-season game, but the Wings beat Anaheim in a seventh game for the second time in five seasons.

The Motor City's team even prevented the first Freeway Faceoff in NHL playoff history. Anaheim would have faced Los Angeles in the second round, the first postseason matchup for Southern California's two teams.

Emerson Etem also scored and Jonas Hiller stopped 29 shots for the Ducks, who couldn't capitalize on home ice and failed in their second chance to close out their first playoff series since 2009. Another slow start doomed Anaheim, which fell behind 2-1 late in the first period on Abdelkader's goal.

"We felt we had a good thing going," Hiller said. "I think everybody thought we were going to go a long way, but it seemed like we didn't find that extra step for the playoffs. Detroit was just a little better than us. It's depressing. It makes you feel sad."

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