May 7, 2013 at 12:29 pm

Gregg Krupa

Red Wings relentless on attack to pull even in series with Ducks

Red Wings discuss Game 4 OT win over Ducks
Red Wings discuss Game 4 OT win over Ducks: Young players Brunner, Nyquist, Smith come through to tie playoff series at 2-2.

Detroit — Go to the net, young man. Go to the net.

Looking at times like an offensive juggernaut, firing 49 shots at Jonas Hiller and driving the net more in each period and the overtime Monday than they did all night Saturday, the Red Wings beat the Ducks 3-2 to even the series at 2, going back to Anaheim.

Here's your big push, pal!

They had the same number of shots in the first 17 minutes Monday as they did in the first 31 Saturday.

Henrik Zetterberg finished with eight shots. Todd Bertuzzi, Patrick Eaves, Johan Franzen, Kyle Quincey and Mikael Samuelsson all had four.

Only Gustav Nyquist and Valtteri Filppula were shotless, and Nyquist assisted on the winner in overtime.

This was desire channeled to will again for the Wings, just like the last four games of the regular season.

They all over the Ducks at times; absolute hell to pay.

It was what they had all talked about. It was what their coach had said, repeatedly.

"I didn't think we were hard on Hiller, at all," Mike Babcock said Sunday, of the game Saturday. "We were too passive to the net instead of grabbing and shooting, and I didn't think we were on the inside near enough. I really didn't."

And he had that "bird of prey" look on his face — you know, that scowl of Babcock's that creases everything on his face below that helmet of hair, which expresses both disbelief and the need for urgency.

The other coach noticed the difference Monday.

"They played very good, very hard, very desperate," Bruce Boudreau said. "They had all four lines going.

"They had 50 shots and so many of them were right from the blue paint."

"I talked about it the other day," Babcock said, in his postgame comments. "It's about will. It's about determination. It's about mental toughness."

The fellows brought all three Monday, in abundant amounts. And they mixed in a lot of vigor.

Anyone got a hammer?

For a long time, and at times it seemed eternal, they had no finish, at all.

They went 1:01.18 without a goal, counting the Ducks' shutout Saturday.

They were driving the net, shooting from the slot, bouncing them in from the blue line and Zetterberg even pulled out his patented shoot-it-from-behind-the-goal-and-try-to-bounce-it-off-the-goalie maneuver.

Nothing worked.

One could be excused for thinking that was a kitchen sink out there, sliding toward Hiller at one point.

The Red Wings needed a finisher and for a long time, they had none.

But Brendan Smith brought his hammer.

The young defenseman had not scored all season and his defensive play declined toward the end of the year. But with the Red Wings firing six shots at Hiller in the first 1:18 of the third and the puck still not going behind him, the biscuit suddenly squirted out of a crowd in the slot toward Smith at the blue line.

And the former Wisconsin Badger, whose offensive upside is considerable, bent in half, cranked back his stick and held it for a moment. Then, he let her rip.

Finally, it was in. Game tied, 1-1.

The Ducks countered, and then Pavel Datsyuk flew down the left wing as if to say, "I got a hammer,. too!" And he ripped a shot from the sideboards ricocheted out of the net as fast as it went it.

One almost wondered why he ever bothers to deke. Just let her rip, Pavs!

And then, in overtime, Joakim Andersson sent a beauty of stretch pass to Nyquist who had possessed it momentarily and then had trouble catching up to it. When Hiller poke-checked him, all seemed lost.

But Damien Brunner followed the play masterfully, skated right into the blue paint and whipped out his hammer.

Whack!

Sudden death, indeed. And on to Anaheim.

Howard's redemption

Not the best couple of games for the Red Wings goalkeeper, Games 2 and 3.

Game 4? Would not have won it without him

It was not as if the Ducks did not have their chances. And it is not as if the Red Wings young defense did not make a ton of mistakes.

But as he has been in many games throughout 2013, Jimmy Howard kept them in it.

"Our young D has some moments that weren't very nice to look at or watch," Babcock said. "We gave up absolutely glorious chances. We gave them the puck, to let them walk in."

At the end of the third period, with the shots 41-24 Red Wings and the score 1-0 Ducks, Anaheim had just one less scoring chance than Detroit, 17-16.

Hiller was good. Howard was better.

The first goal Howard allowed came after his teammates allowed Matt Beleskey to fire thre or four consecutive shots at him. The last one went in.

He stopped Ryan Getzlaf on a breakaway to bail out Jakub Kindl, who simply gave Getzlaf the puck.

He stopped Corey Perry on two break-ins and twice, point blank.

He stopped Kyle Palmieri breaking in. He stopped the lightning-quick Emerson Etem, streaking in.

"We had some great chances," Boudreau said. "We just had to put the puck in the net."

Howard made that far easier said, than done.

No wonder Scotty liked them old

You need several rolls of antacids, if you root for a defense this young in the playoffs.

Smith made mistakes. Kindl made mistakes, which are beginning to accumulate for him in this series.

Brian Lashoff made mistakes.

Between them, they have now appeared in a grand total of 10 playoff games.

Of course they made mistakes. They are still catching up to the mental pace of playoff hockey, and the NHL is notoriously difficult for young defensemen even during their first few regular seasons.

They miss Danny DeKeyser.

And they must elevate their games, the young fellows on the blue line, if the Red Wings are to prevail in this series.

Abdelkader gets an encore

They missed Justin Abdelkader, a bit, too. But the fact of the matter is, with their shot and hits leader out of the lineup, they got 49 shots and they out-hit the considerably bigger Ducks 38-26.

And if you missed Datsyuk absolutely tatooing big, burly Francois Beauchemin into the end boards, do not hesitate. Go to YouTube immediately!

It was arguably boarding, but Datsyuk finished the check with such authority, and Beauchemin is such a big boy, it may have been the loudest check of the year at Joe Louis Arena.

Samuelsson had a good game, replacing Abdelkader on the top line for most of the night. He played 20 minutes, had four shots and was a plus-1.

The best news? Abdelkader gets to play in a Game 6 on Friday at home. His mates assured him of one more game, last night.

And do not think for a moment that was not on their minds.

gregg.krupa@detroitnews.com

Todd Bertuzzi puts Ducks Luca Sbisa into the boards and gets a two minute boarding penalty. / Daniel Mears / The Detroit News