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THN.com Playoff Blog: Ducks lighten up and steal home ice advantage

Todd Marchant's game-winner in the third overtime of Game 2 tied the series as it heads to Anaheim.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

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Todd Marchant's game-winner in the third overtime of Game 2 tied the series as it heads to Anaheim. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

When Todd Marchant finally ended Game 2 early in the third overtime period, his Anaheim Ducks did more than simply tie their second-round series with the Detroit Red Wings at one game apiece. No, with the 4-3 win the Ducks proved you can pull the Red Wings over to the dark side (it just takes a really long time).

Anaheim now has a template to beat Detroit, the question is whether the Ducks can stick with it for the duration of a game and not just in spurts.

Through the first two periods of Game 2, the Ducks were not necessarily dominant, but they were patient and disciplined. Not coincidentally, both traits have been the hallmarks of the Red Wings in recent years.

During that early 40 minutes, the Red Wings out-hit the usually feistier Flock, but on the other hand, also took more penalties, allowing Anaheim to stake itself to a lead heading into the third period. Several of Detroit's penalties can be characterized as acts of aggression, where a Wing got a little too concerned with rubbing out a Duck and not enough on whether said play was within the law.

On the flipside, Anaheim was shorthanded just once through two frames and did a good job making solid hockey plays when a hook or trip would have been chosen by a lazier player. Specifically, very dangerous offensive opportunities by Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk and Darren Helm were foiled without an infraction being called. Anaheim also outshot the Wings in that span; a rarity at Joe Louis Arena.

Where the game slipped away from the Ducks was in the third, when the Red Wings wrested momentum away, forcing overtime in the process. The game-tying goal, scored early in the frame by Johan Franzen, was vintage Detroit: Franzen was the ultimate benefactor of some great cycling by linemates Henrik Zetterberg and Dan Cleary. As if that wasn't enough, Ducks defenseman Scott Niedermayer followed up the goal with an uncharacteristic penalty when he ran interference on Marian Hossa.

By the middle of the third, the Ducks were once again much too preoccupied by the presence of Tomas Holmstrom in front of their net both before and after the whistle, thus nullifying the coolness which marked Anaheim's play earlier on.

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Sure, it may be seem strange to watch the Ducks being the team physically dominated on the ice, but it would behoove coach Randy Carlyle to watch some early tape of Game 2 to see how well his squad reacted when the other team was out for revenge, losing the positioning battle to Anaheim in the process.

OZZIE UPDATE
Osgood Playoff Watch Day 18: The Detroit faithful were cheering much-maligned goaltender Chris Osgood for much of the afternoon and other than Ryan Carter's goal, 'Ozzie' was solid. I know Carter got some luck on a carom behind the Detroit net, but Osgood should know his own boards at this point in his career. The Wings netminder got lucky later on in the game when Josh Green rang one off the post in a similar set-up – that would have made the game 4-2 Ducks at the time, too.

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THN.com's Playoff Blogs, featuring analysis and opinion on the action from the night before, with insight on what happened and what it all means going forward, will appear daily throughout the NHL playoffs. Read more entries HERE.

Ryan Kennedy is a writer and copy editor for The Hockey News magazine, the co-author of the book Hockey's Young Guns and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears Mondays and Wednesdays, his column - The Straight Edge - every Friday, and his features, The Hot List and Prep Watch appears Tuesdays and Thursdays.

For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.

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