DETROIT - Teemu Selanne scored 11 minutes, 57 seconds into overtime to lift the Anaheim Ducks to a 2-1 comeback win over the Red Wings yesterday at Joe Louis Arena, and a 3-2 lead in their Stanley Cup Western Conference final series.
The Red Wings were within a minute of winning in regulation, but Scott Niedermayer's deflected shot fluttered over Dominik Hasek's glove on a power play to tie it with 47.3 seconds left in the third period.
"It wasn't our best effort, but we did enough to win and that's what matters," Ducks defenseman Chris Pronger said.
Anaheim can advance to its second finals appearance with a win at home tomorrow night. If Game 7 is necessary, it will be played Thursday night in Detroit. Eastern Conference champion Ottawa, which eliminated Buffalo on Saturday, awaits the winner, beginning on May 28.
Detroit had a man advantage midway through overtime, but couldn't get the puck past Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who improved to 12-1 in his career in playoff overtime games.
Andreas Lilja, who scored Detroit's lone goal, had the puck stripped by Andy McDonald, Selanne picked it up, made a quick move and sent a backhand shot over a sprawling Hasek.
"Everything happened so quickly, you don't have time to plan anything," Selanne said. "I've been practicing that move my whole life. I knew I had to get it up. He goes down and covers up everything down low."
"It's not supposed to happen, but it happens," Lilja said. "It hurts, but we have to put this behind us and move on."
Lilja scored his first playoff goal at 6:13 of the second period and Detroit clung to the one-goal lead until Pavel Datsyuk was called for interference with 1:47 to go in the third. Anaheim took advantage of the opportunity, pulling Giguere for a six-on-four skating edge.
Niedermayer's shot from the left circle was lifted off the ice by the stick of Nicklas Lidstrom as the Detroit defenseman tried to block it. Hasek didn't seem to see the puck until it was already in the net.
"That's hockey," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "But when that break goes our way, we don't overanalyze that. We just take the break. When it goes against you, I don't think you want to spend a whole lot of time analyzing that."
Detroit controlled the play for much of regulation, leading to Hasek facing just 18 shots after three periods; he finished with 24 saves.
Giguere was much busier, keeping the Ducks in the game with 33 saves in regulation and finishing with 36 stops.
"I just wanted to make sure we still had a chance," Giguere said. "I can't control what we do offensively. I can't control what Hasek does. I can only control what I bring to the team."
The Red Wings likely will look back at the wasted chances they had on the power play, going 0-for-6 in regulation and 0-for-1 in overtime. Anaheim was 1-for-5 on the power play.
"We had a few power plays, a five-on-three, and we couldn't score," Hasek said. "They pull the goalie and score on a deflection off my defenseman's stick. It was a lucky goal, but it still counts." *