NHL

Sun, May 12, 2013 - 10:00 PM ET
Game Preview
 

Red Wings-Ducks Preview

Share This Story

   
 

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)

A theatrical playoff series gets an appropriately grand finale when Anaheim hosts Detroit in Game 7 on Sunday night.

Although the Ducks and Red Wings could be stressed by this test, most are treating it as an opportunity and a reward for nearly two weeks of exhausting work.

After all, somebody gets to be the hero.

''If you can't enjoy it, then you're in the wrong sport,'' Anaheim captain Ryan Getzlaf said Saturday. ''These are situations that many of us have been in, but they're fun. You reach back on those things, and then just remember to embrace the moment and be ready to play.''

After four overtime games, several clutch goals and plenty of wild momentum swings, the second-seeded Ducks have one last chance to finish off the resilient Red Wings, who have one final opportunity to nudge past the talented Pacific Division champions.

Detroit has stayed in this series with three overtime victories, including Game 6 on Friday night, although Anaheim had to rally late just to force two of those overtimes.

Every game has been in the balance in the third period, so both teams know what they'll face in the deciding game at a frenzied Honda Center.

''We were talking about that on the plane (after Game 6),'' Anaheim's Corey Perry said. ''When you're a kid, you go into the streets and you're playing Game 7 of the Stanley Cup playoffs. That's the fun part of hockey. You dream about Game 7, and to be the guy to step up is special.''

Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler has learned a bit about playoff pressure in his first three NHL seasons, and he watched the Red Wings in countless big games while growing up in the Detroit suburbs. The 21-year-old is looking forward to his first taste of the toughest situation any team can face.

''It's more exciting than anything,'' Fowler said. ''We're familiar with them, and they know us, so it's about harnessing your emotions and playing. I'm looking forward to it. No butterflies, just excitement.''

The teams have alternated wins throughout the series, with Anaheim taking a one-game lead three times, only to watch the Red Wings catch up.

The Ducks would be preparing for a tantalizing second-round matchup with Los Angeles this weekend if they hadn't allowed three overtime goals by the Red Wings, who will face Chicago in the second round if they hang on.

The Ducks are playing the fifth Game 7 in the franchise's two-decade history, but just the second at home. Anaheim's most recent Game 7 was in 2009 at Detroit, where the Red Wings eliminated the eighth-seeded Ducks.

Detroit is playing Game 7 for the 23rd time in its much longer franchise history, but nearly all of those decisive games were at home. The Wings are just 2-4 in a Game 7 on the road.

''I've been fortunate enough to win some Game 7's and lose some,'' said Detroit coach Mike Babcock, who coached the Ducks in their Game 7 loss to New Jersey in the 2003 Stanley Cup finals.

''I've lost at home and on the road, and won that way, too. So it's just a big game. ... We're excited. We said all along, the shorter we could make the series, advantage us. You can't make it any shorter than this.''

Although Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau would rather be playing in a Game 7 than watching it from the bench, he hopes his players embrace their opportunity to create a postseason reputation that could last their lifetimes.

Boudreau has already more than his share of Game 7 heartache in his NHL coaching career: His Washington Capitals went to a seventh game in each of his first four playoff series with the club, and the Caps lost three of them.

''It's a lot easier to play. You just play,'' Boudreau said. ''Game 7 playing is a tremendous amount of fun. Game 7 coaching is not so much.''

Boudreau's night could be much more comfortable if Perry emerges from his series-long goal drought. Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg finally got his first goals of the series in Game 6, pushing the Wings to the win - but the Ducks are still waiting for their first goal from Perry, the former Richard Trophy winner during his 50-goal season two years ago.

''I assume that at one point, Corey Perry is going to break out,'' Boudreau said Saturday. ''He always has, and he always will. Let's just hope it's tomorrow.''

Perry has been active and aggressive, but hasn't converted any chances into goals. Detroit has done solid work against the Ducks' top line, but few defenses can contain Perry for such a significant length of time, and the former MVP is feeling urgency.

''My job is to go out and score goals and do those offensive things, but it hasn't been coming,'' Perry said. ''Hopefully you just try to do something different if things aren't going your way, but I'm not putting any more pressure on myself than anybody else is. I'm not going out there and squeezing my stick any tighter. I've had my chances, and I'm shooting the puck, I'm going to the net. One puck has got to go in - off me, off somebody. Something has got to break.''

Boudreau believes stopping Pavel Datsyuk and Zetterberg are the Ducks' biggest challenges in the finale.

Both veterans have ample experience in big playoff games, including four previous Game 7 appearances, while the Ducks have won just one playoff round since their Stanley Cup victory in 2007.

The Red Wings aren't content with just pushing the higher-seeded Ducks to the brink in what was looking like a rebuilding season for a team with 22 straight playoff appearances.

With one more pressure-packed win, Detroit can keep rolling into another series against a touted opponent.

''It just seems when our backs are against the wall, that's when we play our best,'' Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard said. ''The urgency was there from the drop of the puck (in Game 6). There can't be any let up. We've got to have this right into Sunday night.''

Tagged: Red Wings, Ducks, Corey Perry

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



Play Hockey Simulation Game on WhatIfSports

NHL Videos

Toews, Kane: Easy decision to resign with Blackhawks Posted: Jul 17, 2014
Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane say their decision to sign matching 8-year, $84M...

LA mayor 'F-bombs' Kings rally Posted: Jun 17, 2014
Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti toasts the Stanley Cup champion Kings in front o...

Kings, fans celebrate Stanley Cup Posted: Jun 16, 2014
Kings players celebrate winning the Stanley Cup with a parade through downtown L...

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Reebok Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins Premier Hockey Jersey - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Pittsburgh_Penguins/browse/featuredproduct/175178/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_175000/FF_175178_xl.jpg&w=100 159.95 Reebok Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins Premier Hockey Jersey - Black
    Reebok Dallas Stars White Premier Hockey Jersey http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Dallas_Stars/browse/featuredproduct/243363/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_243000/FF_243363_xl.jpg&w=100 124.95 Reebok Dallas Stars White Premier Hockey Jersey
    Reebok Tampa Bay Lightning Primary Logo T-Shirt - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Tampa_Bay_Lightning/browse/featuredproduct/301017/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_301000/ff_301017_xl.jpg&w=100 19.95 Reebok Tampa Bay Lightning Primary Logo T-Shirt - Royal Blue
    Majestic Anaheim Ducks Black Official Logo Full Zip Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Anaheim_Ducks/browse/featuredproduct/398322/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_398000/FF_398322_xl.jpg&w=100 43.99 Majestic Anaheim Ducks Black Official Logo Full Zip Hoodie Sweatshirt
    Detroit Red Wings Youth Black Southpaw Backpack http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Detroit_Red_Wings/browse/featuredproduct/403205/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_403000/FF_403205_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Detroit Red Wings Youth Black Southpaw Backpack
    Reebok Chicago Blackhawks #88 Patrick Kane Red Premier Hockey Jersey http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Chicago_Blackhawks/browse/featuredproduct/408123/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_408000/FF_408123_xl.jpg&w=100 159.95 Reebok Chicago Blackhawks #88 Patrick Kane Red Premier Hockey Jersey
    Majestic New Jersey Devils Red Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_Jersey_Devils/browse/featuredproduct/456774/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_456000/ff_456774_xl.jpg&w=100 47.99 Majestic New Jersey Devils Red Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt
    Vancouver Canucks 2011 NHL Western Conference Champions Hockey Stick http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Vancouver_Canucks/browse/featuredproduct/665779/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_665000/ff_665779_xl.jpg&w=100 11.95 Vancouver Canucks 2011 NHL Western Conference Champions Hockey Stick
    Majestic New York Islanders Royal Blue Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Islanders/browse/featuredproduct/752594/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_752000/ff_752594_xl.jpg&w=100 47.99 Majestic New York Islanders Royal Blue Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt