It looked, with five minutes remaining in the third period, like the Detroit Red Wings were well on their way to a solid win over the Anaheim Ducks in a must-win situation on Friday.
That was before the Ducks scored twice in 51 seconds to send Game 6 to overtime with a chance to knock the Red Wings out of the Stanley Cup playoffs in the opening round.
The Red Wings, after coughing up a two-goal lead late in the third period, regrouped and sent the series to a seventh game with a 4-3 overtime win thanks to Henrik Zetterberg’s second goal of the night.
“Our leaders said, what’s done is done, forget about it,” Red Wings’ goalie Jimmy Howard told the Detroit Free Press.
“Nothing really fazes them. We’ve been through a lot together. We just knew we had to go out there and get the job done. We’d played a hell of a game up until the last four minutes of the third, and I thought we deserved to win and we did.”
Howard wasn’t bad, either.
In fact, he was spectacular, particularly on this save against Teemu Selanne in the second period.
For a little more than a minute, Brandon Saad was going to be the story of the Columbus Blue Jackets’ opener. Instead, his power-play goal merely got the ball rolling on a flabbergasting finish.
The New York Rangers scored three goals in 1:17 of game time to manage a 4-2 win.
They’ve now spoiled home openers for the Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets to begin their 2015-16 season.
It might be easiest just to show you when the goals were scored, noting that the third period began with a 1-1 tie.
Brandon Saad power-play goal: 16:10 into third period (2-1 Columbus)
Oscar Lindberg: 17:24 (2-2 tie)
Kevin Hayes: 17:41 (3-2 Rangers)
Mats Zuccarello: 18:41 (4-2 Rangers)
Yikes. Zuccarello scored two of the Rangers’ goals, while a beauty by Cam Atkinson is likely long forgotten.
This post will be updated if there’s video of that staggering sequence.
Mike Babcock admitted that there might be a painful transformation as he tries to fix the Toronto Maple Leafs.
His old friends made that abundantly, painfully clear on Friday.
As of this writing, the Detroit Red Wings are up 4-0 on the Buds. Justin Abdelkader just completed a hat trick with James Reimer in net, so the subplot isn’t just about Jonathan Bernier having another tough start.
The big story might just be Detroit’s varied new line of Abdelkader, Dylan Larkin (who scored his first career goal) and Henrik Zetterberg. At the moment, they’ve combined for seven points.
This post will be updated if Detroit’s tribute video to Babcock surfaces.
Really, though, this beating has been about as ugly as this blanket so far.
Here’s video of Abdelkader’s hat trick: