With some momentum in tow heading back home, the Detroit Red Wings set out to make the 2013 first round look much different than 2012. Unfortunately, after a lazy game three effort, the result was the same and the Anaheim Ducks enjoyed a relatively easy 4-0 road victory.
The Ducks started off the first period dominating momentum, firing the first five shots on Jimmy Howard. Eventually, when things steadied, the Red Wings were the benefactor of a 4 on 3 power play. When that began to expire without incident, another Anaheim penalty gave Detroit nearly a full 5 on 3. Multiple whiffed shots later, the Red Wings had a 5 on 4 man advantage which also went by the wayside. Near the end of the period, the Ducks finally got their chance, but the Red Wings savagely killed off their own 5 on 3 as time expired to the delight of the crowd.
In the second period, Anahiem’s early pressure felt overwhelming to Detroit, but the Red Wings managed to side step several chances. Detroit got the first man advantage, but as per usual in this game, got nothing done. That hurt, especially when Justin Abdelkader made a questionable hit, leaving his feet and running over Toni Lydman. The referees debated, and decided to eject Abdelkader, giving Anaheim a five minute power play. They quickly took advantage, as Nick Bonino jammed a goal past Howard for the icebreaker. Detroit weathered the storm, however, only allowing two more shots as the period drew to a close.
An irresponsible play by Damien Brunner allowed Ryan Getzlaf to score a shorthanded goal early in the third period. After that point, disinterest set in during the period, and quick goals by Emerson Etem and Matt Beleskey helped close things out for Detroit and apply the screws with a 4-0 lead. Flailing away and shooting directly into Jonas Hiller, the Red Wings weren’t able to put much credible offensive heat on the Ducks the rest of the way. Listlessly, they watched the stands empty out, surrendering whatever home ice advantage they had at the beginning of the day.
Red Wings’ Wheel: Nobody. A lazy, inconsistent effort all over the ice for everybody in red. It would be unfair to say any Red Wing played well, especially with lazy defense, non-existent offense and an overall confused looking approach. It was an off night at the worst possible time.
Red Wings’ Heel: Damien Brunner. Abdelkader made a silly mistake with the hit, Jakub Kindl played bad as usual, Brian Lashoff looked terrible after being inserted into the lineup and Mikel Samuelson was largely useless. Still, the worst night was had by Brunner. His shots were predictable on the offensive end, and his big mistake on the giveaway to Getzlaf effectively ended the night. Truly, Brunner’s best minutes on the ice were spent serving Abdelkader’s penalty. It was not a good day for the playoff rookie.
Best Play Of The Game: When the horn sounded. No use mincing words about tonight’s effort. The best part about game three for Detroit was when it finally, mercilessly ended.
Worst Play Of The Game: The response to Abdelkader’s hit. Instead of using the hit and a decent job on the subsequent penalty kill to fire themselves up, the Red Wings played as if they didn’t care in the third period and allowed Anaheim to completely take things over. The hit ended up being the turning point in the game, but not because it was shockingly vicious or the Ducks scored. Instead, Detroit’s lazy, confused response to it provided Anaheim all the juice they needed to win.
Series Standing: Anaheim leads 2-1, and the Red Wings will need to respond well just to get this series back to California tied for a game five. If they give up as bad as they did last season in game four, this will be another five game sweep.
Max DeMara is a senior editor at The Detroit Sports Site. You can find him on Twitter @SportsGuyTheMax