Detroit — It is said that nothing happens in a Stanley Cup playoff series until a road team wins a game.
Well, as many slept, something happened last night in Anaheim.
Scoring on three power plays, including in overtime, while the Ducks took undisciplined penalties gave the Red Wings a 5-4 victory.
The series is tied at 1 returning to Detroit for Game 3 on Saturday night.
"Huge win for our team," coach Mike Babcock said afterward.
Managing the puck and fore-checking far better than in Game 1, the Wings put themselves in charge of this affair, leading 1-0, after 48 seconds; 3-0, 10 minutes into the second period; and 4-1, 20 seconds into the third.
Then, for the last 12:50 of regulation, they played far less with the puck and much more in their own zone chasing the Ducks than in the Ducks zone chasing down rebounds.
It was a big playoff lesson for a young team, if they learn it.
"We were playing really well," Babcock said, on Fox Sports Detroit. "They got a goal, and all of a sudden we got real nervous and no one wanted the puck.
"We got a real big lesson: You can't stop playing. You can't not want the puck."
Undisciplined Ducks, fortunate Wings
The penalties were six for the Ducks and five for the Red Wings. But their impact heavily favored the Wings, and they should accept it as a lesson in playoff hockey.
The Ducks took three undisciplined penalties, by Saku Koivu at the end of the first period, by Sheldon Souray at the end of the second period and by Souray, again, at the end of the third.
The Red Wings got their fresh sheet of ice — a critical consideration in Southern California, generally, and in the Honda Center in Anaheim, specifically — at the start of the second and third periods and the all-important opening minute-plus of the first overtime. And the Red Wings made the Ducks pay, each time, with three power play goals, including the winner by Gustav Nyquist with a wonderful assist by Valtteri Filppula.
Especially under a former coach, Randy Carlisle, the Ducks were noted for a lack of discipline that sometimes led to costly penalties. While Bruce Boudreau, their new coach, has tried to tame them, his efforts did not help even two playoff-seasoned veterans like Koivu and Souray.
The Red Wings were fortunate and did not fail to take advantage of it.
They would be doubly advantageous if they — especially the younger players — commit the lesson about penalties to memory, as the series continues.
Some penalties stop goals. The rest should be avoided in the playoffs.
Special special teams
At the very end of the regular season, the sum of the percentages for success on the Wings' power plays and penalty kills finally exceeded 100. It is often said that unless the sum of success for both special teams is more than 100, a team will not make the playoffs.
The Red Wings squeezed by 100 and into the playoffs, and last night their special teams were terrific.
Without them, they would have returned to Detroit without a win, in this series.
The Wings scored the three power play goals, taking advantage of the Duck's reckless disposition. They also killed five out of six penalties, against a good offensive team with a good power play.
It is often said special teams win playoff games. They won this one for the Red Wings.
Good Jimmy, bad Jimmy?
Jimmy Howard made large stops in the first 3:05 of the game against Matt Belesky, Teemu Selanne and Corey Perry, to keep the score 1-0, after Justin Abdelkader scored at 48 seconds.
When Damien Brunner added at goal at 4:20, Howard had played a critical role in staking the Red Wings to a 2-0 lead on the road in the playoffs.
But from the 7:50 mark of the third period until the end, the Red Wings left it all up to Howard and he was not there for them.
All three goals came on the short side, and Howard would probably argue that he should have stopped them.
Ryan Geltzlaf's backhand shot appeared to fool Howard, at 7:50 of the third. But he also may have been jostled simultaneously, when Kyle Palmieri cross-checked Brendan Smith into the goal crease and the crossbar.
Later, Palmieri and Bobby Ryan also scored, short side, but both after the Ducks had spent enormous amounts of time in the Wings zone amid some failures to clear the puck.
Early on, Howard was helping the Red Wings steal the game. Late in the third period, when the Wings did not help Howard, he did not help them.
After the game, Howard told Fox Sports Detroit, "They just kept coming at us, coming at us. And in the playoffs you can't take your foot off the gas pedal, and that goes for all of us.
"In the playoffs is a swing of momentum, constantly."
Puck management and forechecking
The Wings were a much better hockey team Thursday against the Ducks, and a lot of it was handling the puck and their forwards getting into the faces of Ducks defensive corps, which can be a weak when challenged.
They did not give it to the Ducks, and they did a pretty job of moving it out of their zone, through the neutral zone and generating offense.
The also did a pretty good job of flustering the Ducks in their own zone, with a fairly steady fore-check.
The puck movement showed, right away, on Abdelkader's goal from Pavel Datsyuk, and the fore-check was a key ingredient in the second goal, by Damien Brunner.
In the first game in Anaheim, the Wings gave away the puck 13 times.
In the second, they had five giveways.
Unnoticed rookie, noticed rookie
Danny Dekeyser and Joakim Andersson have been two of the most successful Red Wings' rookies this season, and it seems it is good-bye to one on the same night that the other turned up big for his team.
Dekeyser, who played another terrific defensive game - just outstanding, positionally, as he is continuously - apparently broke a thumb late in the game.
Babcock said he is lost for the season and, despite being a rookie in the playoffs, it is an enormous loss for the Wings. Dekeyser is so good and has played so well since his arrival late in the season that he had all but replaced Brad Stuart as the Wings' best defensive defenseman.
Andersson was stellar in Game 2.
His fore-checking on the venerable Teemu Selanne so flustered the veteran in the opening minutes of the game that Selanne coughed up the puck. Kyle Quincey pounced on it, moved it to Brunner and Brunner buried it.
When the Ducks won 61 percent of the draws in the first period, Andersson was three out of four. He ended the game six out of 10.
During a crucial 5-on-3 in the first period, Babcock had Andersson with Henrik Zetterberg on the ice as the two forwards, killing it.
Andersson likely will continue to play a crucial role, after the most-unfortunate loss of Dekeyser.