DETROIT — There will be a lot of talk about Justin Abdelkader’s hit on Anaheim’s Toni Lydman, the Ducks’ power play that followed and Abdelkader’s ejection.
But that isn’t why the Red Wings lost Game 3 at Joe Louis Arena, 4-0, Saturday night and gave home-ice advantage back to the Ducks.
The Wings had plenty of chances to take control of the game in the first period, including a two-man advantage for 40 seconds. They didn’t capitalize, though, against Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller.
“Anytime you have an opportunity with a 5-on-3, the puck has to go in,” Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. “No matter if you do the right plays or not, the puck has to go in.
“We have to do a lot better job getting the pucks in there and create more chances. We had some good looks, but we weren’t good enough.”
It wasn’t even necessarily Hiller’s brilliance. The Wings had their own problems: Valtteri Filppula fanning on a shot on the right doorstep, Pavel Datsyuk hitting the post or Johan Franzen failing on a breakaway.
“Hiller had a night off,” Red Wings forward Daniel Cleary said. “I thought we didn’t get enough chances on him … We weren’t at him enough.”
In the end, despite four power plays, the Wings managed just 23 shots. Hiller stopped them all.
“I thought we tried to pass the puck into the net tonight instead of shoot the puck into the net,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “At playoff time, you have to have people going to the net and throw it in there and have some ugly ones go in there. I don’t think we did that at all.”
At 15:11 of the second period, the game was still scoreless. Then Abdelkader, in the Ducks’ end, hit Lydman, who crumpled to the ice.
Lydman didn’t return. Neither did Abdelkader, who received a 5-minute charging major and a game misconduct. Replays showed that Abdelkader left his feet, which could result in a suspension.
“I don’t think it deserved 5 (minutes),” Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg said. “It was no-call from the beginning. Both refs didn’t do anything and then when they saw the guy was down, all of a sudden it was 5.
“If they think it’s not a penalty right away, it’s tough to make it out to a 5.”
The Ducks scored just 18 seconds into the power play, when Nick Bonino backhanded a rebound past Jimmy Howard to make it 1-0.
In the third period, the Wings had their own power play, but Ryan Getzlaf managed to pick Damien Brunner’s pocket and skate around Howard for a shorthanded goal at 6:33.
“That second goal hurt,” Cleary said. “They knew it; we knew it.”
The Ducks scored another goal at even strength and then a final power-play goal.
“When we gave up that second goal, we let it affect us,” Babcock said. “We shouldn’t have let it affect us.
“That’s what the game’s all about: poise and maturity. We didn’t show that.”
The Wings will have to rediscover their poise, maturity and power-play prowess, or the Ducks will make this a short series.
“We have to find a way to play 60 minutes,” Kronwall said. “I know we talk about it over and over.
“Enough talk — we just have to go out there and do it, too.”