Anaheim Ducks defenseman Scott Niedermayer (27) is congratulated by teammate center Andy McDonald (19) after his game-tying goal during the third period of Game 5 of the NHL Western Conference finals, Sunday in Detroit. (AP/Paul Sancya)
Teemu Selanne scored 11:57 into overtime to give them a 2-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings and a 3-2 edge in the Western Conference final Sunday.
Anaheim forced sudden death on a power-play goal by Scott Niedermayer with 47 seconds remaining in regulation time with goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere on the bench for an additional extra skater. Andreas Lilja scored for Detroit in the second period.
It was a Lilja foul-up that set up Selanne's winning goal. Lilja fanned on a pass attempt in front of goaltender Dominik Hasek as Andy McDonald rushed towards him. The puck slid to Selanne who deked one way, pulled the puck to his backhand as Hasek threw himself across the goal-line, and flipped the puck under the crossbar for his fifth goal of the post-season.
Now it's back to California for Game 6 on Tuesday (9 p.m. ET). NHL history shows that 80 per cent of teams that win Game 5 after a best-of-seven was tied 2-2 go on to win the series.
Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom had said after his team's return from California following its 5-3 Game 4 loss that he and his teammates would have to play better defensively. Stellar defence was what got them this far, and they'd need to produce a better checking effort in Game 5 if they hoped to advance.
That's exactly what the Red Wings accomplished. The Ducks could mount no sustained offensive pressure. It was actually Lidstrom who caused Niedermayer's goal. He leaned and placed his stick horizontal to the ice when the shot was taken. The puck struck the stick shaft, changed direction and went into the top of the net. Hasek had no chance.
Pavel Datsyuk had been sent off for interference with 1:47 left in the third.
Detroit outshot Anaheim 34-18 through 60 minutes.
Chris Pronger, back after serving his one-game suspension for his hit to the head of Tomas Holmstrom in Game 3, was booed by many of the 20,000 in Joe Louis Arena every time he touched the puck.
Detroit coach Mike Babcock juggled his lines, splitting up Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, in trying to ruin the effectiveness of on-the-fly line changes by Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle that were aimed at getting the matchups Carlyle desired.
There were three man advantages in the first period and the Ducks got them all, but they couldn't put a puck behind Hasek.
Lilja opened the scoring 6:13 into the second period, which has been Detroit's most effective 20 minutes throughout the playoffs. They've outscored opponents 17-7.
Dan Cleary sent a cross-ice pass to Lilja just inside the Anaheim blue-line and the 31-year-old Swede blasted a slap shot from the top of the circle to the right of Giguere. Ryan Getzlaf dove to try to block the shot, and the diversion kept Giguere from seeing the puck until it was too late. It found the top corner on his mitt side before he could move. Lilja, in his 29th career playoff game, got his first post-season goal.
Detroit was 6-1 when scoring first in previous playoff games this spring, so Red Wings fans had reason for optimism.
The Red Wings surged, and four consecutive penalties to the Ducks helped them keep the puck in the Anaheim end for most of the second period. Detroit outshot Anaheim 15-3 in the period, yet, the mere one-goal difference remained when the third period started.
The Red Wings were 7-0 when leading after two coming into this one.
The Ducks tried to rally but their scoring chances were few and far between.
The Red Wings were taking it to the Ducks physically, too. Kris Draper flattened Corey Perry with 13 minutes remaining, and Danny Markov levelled Todd Marchant a minute later.
Detroit just missed going up by two goals when a shot beat Giguere, clanged off a post and slid through the crease behind the goalie with eight minutes left.
It was a lucky break for the Ducks, and it allowed them to be in position to tie it when Datsyuk was penalized late in regulation.
Travis Moen was sent off for hooking 7:53 into overtime and, for the seventh time in the game, Detroit couldn't score with a man advantage.
The Ducks were the best team in overtime and outshot Detroit 8-3, which meant a lot more when Selanne scored than the game total of 37-26 in Detroit's favour.
Notes: Anaheim was 1-for-5 on power plays. . . . Detroit RW Tomas Kopecky got his third straight start in place of Kyle Calder, who again was a healthy scratch. . . . Anaheim deleted D Joe DiPenta to keep D Ric Jackman in its lineup. Jackman scored a big goal in the first post-season game of his career while subbing for Pronger on Thursday. . . . Anaheim also deleted LW Shawn Thornton and gave RW Joe Motzko the first NHL playoff assignment of his career. . . . Detroit D Mathieu Schneider has missed six games since hurting his left forearm. He's been told he won't require surgery to repair multiple cracks in the radius bone. . . . Anaheim F Chris Kunitz missed his fourth game since breaking a bone in his right hand. . . . Holmstrom entered the game with the best post-season shooting percentage of any player on the ice. The Swedish left-winger had five goals on 22 shots . . . Going into this game, Detroit was 17-for-89 in 16 playoff games for a power-play efficiency rate of 19.1 per cent. Anaheim was 11-for-76, 14.5 per cent. . . . Leading point-getters on both teams entering Game 5 were defencemen - Lidstrom (4-13) and Pronger (3-9). . . . Since his first year as an NHL head coach in 2003, Babcock leads all NHL head coaches in post-season wins. He's 27-16. . . . The Ducks entered the game with the most playoff wins (34) and best playoff winning percentage (.667) in the NHL since the start of the 2003 playoffs. . . . All-time leaders in playoff games played: Patrick Roy 247, Chris Chelios 245, Mark Messier 236.