Anaheim, CA – The playoff-tested Detroit Red Wings proved Sunday that experience prevails over youth when it comes to the pressures of Game 7.
Henrik Zetterberg and Valtteri Filppula each had a goal and an assist, as the seventh-seeded Red Wings took down the Anaheim Ducks, 3-2, to advance to the Western Conference semifinals.
Justin Abdelkader also lit the lamp for Detroit, which improved to 14-9 all- time in Game 7s. Jimmy Howard made 31 saves.
"It was tough. It had to go down as one of the best series in the last short while at least," Abdelkader said. "It was fun to play in, back and forth, and tightly checked. Both teams played well and played hard. It was fun to be a part of."
The Red Wings will play the top-seeded Chicago Blackhawks in the next round. The Blackhawks beat the Minnesota Wild in five games.
Francois Beauchemin had a goal and an assist for the Ducks, who were playing in their fifth Game 7 and first since losing to Detroit in the 2009 Western Conference semifinals. Emerson Etem also lit the lamp.
Jonas Hiller stopped 29-of-32 shots in defeat.
After the clubs played four overtimes in the first six games of this series, Detroit dominated the clincher from the start.
The Red Wings drew first blood at the 1:49 mark of the first period. Zetterberg put home a rebound off Filppula's shot from the top of the right circle.
Etem tied the contest at the 13:48 mark when he carried the puck to the left circle and beat Howard with a wrist shot.
Detroit went back in front with 3:23 remaining in the opening frame. While killing off a penalty, Abdelkader stole the puck at the blue line and skated in on a breakaway.
Filppula lit the lamp at the 13:45 mark of the middle stanza to give the Red Wings a 3-1 edge. His backhander from the right circle got past Hiller.
"I think we came out with a little bit of nerves. Everyone here was up for the game and everyone was excited to play," Ducks forward Teemu Selanne said. "We've got a lot of guys who haven't been in that situation and some of the guys that have, didn't do a good enough job. We've got to be able to calm down a little bit when it comes to those situations, and control the puck a little bit better."
The Ducks made it interesting late in the third period when Beauchemin scored with 3:17 to play. Beauchemin threw the puck towards the net and it deflected off Jonathan Ericsson's skate and into the net.
Detroit improved to 4-2 in six all-time playoff series versus the Ducks ... Anaheim fell to 2-3 all-time in Game 7s ... The Ducks went 1-for-4 on the power play.