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>>caption: CLEARY SCORED WITH
EXACTLY 3-MINS TO PLAY<<
@ JOE LOUIS ARENA:
A Dan Cleary bat-in goal with
3-mins left in regulation gave the
Red Wings a 4-3 victory and a 4-3
series win over the Anaheim Ducks
Thursday night in the deciding seventh contest of the NHL Western Conference
Halfway to a successful Stanley Cup defense with an Octo-Eight wins in the
bag, Detroit will host the Chicago Blackhawks Sunday afternoon to open the
Anaheim battled back from a 2-0 defecit to tie at 3-all in the match-up
between the last two S-Cup Champions.
Mirroring the series, the tightly contested Gm-7 featured hard hits and
cheap shots and a curious calling of what was a penalty and what was not.
The Red Wings survived a lengthy 1st-Per 5x3 disadvantage on a pair of
cheezy infractions. When Anaheim's Ryan Getzlaf then took a foolish penalty
(his second of the game) for slashing in the neutral zone, Detroit converted
for a 1-0 lead at 15:43/1. Jiri Hudler (#4) was left alone in front to re-direct
a Johan Franzen pass for a tip-in goal over the crook of Ducks goalie Jonas
Hiller's catching arm elbow.
Detroit made it 2-0 at 1:17/2 when Marian Hossa tipped a Teemu Selanne
pass to Darren Helm . The speedy Helm out-raced a pair of Ducks defenders
to score a breakaway goal (#2) to the lower right side of the net under Hiller's
Cut on the bridge of his nose when his own visor clamped down during a hard
Brad Stuart check (for which Stuart was penalized), Selanne scored later in the
middle period on a nice individual effort. From behind the Detroit goal, Selanne
(#4) twice poked at the puck to push it in an open left side at 14:50/2 to get
Anaheim on the board at 2-1.
Just over a minute and a half later Detroit countered that goal to go back
up by two at 3-1. Ducks DEF James Wisniewski fell down during a Detroit rush
and Mikael Samuelsson (#3) fired in a Pavel Datsyuk rebound at 16:23/2.
A horrid call on Detroit's Hudler gave Anaheim a late middle period power play.
Hudler was cross-checked by Ducks DEF Chris Pronger into Hiller, but it was
Hudler who was penalized for goaltender interference. It only took the Ducks
26-saec to convert when Corey Perry (#8) poked in a Pronger rebound at 17:12/2
to make the score 3-2.
Detroit held the early 3rd-Per territorial advantage. Then, Wings DEF Jonanthan
Ericsson was unable to clear his zone because he got caught up by a discarded Ducks
stick in the right corner. Anaheim stole the puck and Bobby Ryan (#5) tipped-in a
Perry slot shot at 7:37/3 to tie the game 3-all.
Cleary (#3) won it for the Wings with his goal at 17:00/3. Nicklas Lidstrom held
in a Henrik Zetterberg rebound at the blueline, re-fed Zed in the right corner and
Zetterberg worked the puck to the goalmouth. Cleary's second jab at the puck pushed
it between Hiller's legs and just over the goalline. Cleary had worked free of Pronger,
and then shook off a back-check from Getzlaf to get the goal.
Detroit out-shot Anaheim for the seventh time in the seven games, 40-27. However,
Wings goalie Chris Osgood made a half dozen point-blank saves and kept his team
ahead in the middle period when the Ducks out-shot Detroit 14-8.
Each team was 1-for-5 on the power play.
R-WINGS H-COACH MIKE BABCOCK: "The best series I've been in since I've been
in the league, for sure...I'm real proud of our players...In my opinion we out-
played this team basically in every game...What made this series so hard and what
people don't understand, the people that have won (the Cup) know what it takes
to win. That's what made them so hard to get rid of..."For us to be in this situation
is a real positive, but we have a hungry Chicago team waiting for us...It should be
fun...This is three years in a row that we've been in the final four, and in the
(salary) cap world, that's phenomenal."
RED WING Rt-WING DAN CLEARY: "It's the biggest goal I ever scored...Z was in
the corner and made a good play, put it on net. I stayed with it and got it under
Hiller...Pretty happy it went in, (a) big goal ...It's a fun game to be a part of...It
was a pretty fast game, a tough series...We really had to put the dagger in that
team, and that (last goal) was the dagger. We just kept coming. We didn't get
frustrated, we didn't lose focus."
R-WINGS CEN HENRIK ZETTERBERG: "It was tough mentally, it was tough physically.
But it was all worth it."
R-WINGS GOALIE CHRIS OSGOOD: "Little things and our experiance helped us
through that game...Hank (Zetterberg) must have had six blocks (during the
5-on-3 penalty kill)...It was a tough series, maybe the toughest we've played
in a while...It took a lot to beat that team...It was fitting it went right down to
R-WINGS DEF/CAPT NICKLAS LIDSTROM: "That was huge (the 5x3 penalty kill) to
keep us in the game and not give them any (early) momentum...You're not thinkin'
about the leads that you've blown late in a game like this...You're keeping focused
on what's in front...We didn't panic or lose our composure when they tied it up.
We stuck to our game plan. We kept rolling the lines. When we can do that, we
eventually can grind you out...We talked about (offensive pressure) the whole series,
to get the puck in there, get there for rebounds, too. (Cleary) saw the puck sitting
there and made up his mind he was going to get that puck and score the goal."
DUCKS GOALIE JONAS HILLER: "I tried to catch it, it went through my glove. I didn't
know if (Cleary) hit the puck or hit my pad onto the puck. He just pushed my pad."
DUCKS DEF/CAPT SCOTT NIEDERMAYER: "When you're that close with so few
minutes left, it's tough to lose. "
Zetterberg had a pair of Detroit assists.
Perry and Selanne both had 1-G & 1-A for Anaheim. Getzlaf was held pointless
for the second time in the series.
Kris Draper made his 2009 playoff debut, returning from an "upper body" injury
which had sidelined him since late in the regular season. Draper replaced Kirk
Maltby in the lineup.
The Ducks scored a power play goal in all seven games of the series.
Detroit has now won 3-of-5 all-time playoff series vs Anaheim.
The Wings advanced to the Conference Finals for the eighth time in 14 years.
The series vs Chicago will be the first "Original Six" NHL Conference Finals match-up
The Red Wings won four of six regular season games from the B'Hawks. Faceoff
for Gm-1 Sunday on NBC) is 3:10pm.
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