Jiri Hudler scored and 42-year-old Dominik Hasek made three saves in a shootout, lifting the Detroit Red Wings to a 3-2 victory over the visiting Anaheim Ducks last night in a rematch of the Western Conference finals.
Anaheim's Todd Bertuzzi scored and set up a go-ahead goal late in the second period for the defending Stanley Cup champions against his former team. But the Red Wings tied it early in the third when Tomas Holmstrom scored a power-play goal off a cross-crease pass from Henrik Zetterberg, who had scored in the first period.
Detroit was on the power play for the final 30 seconds of regulation and early in overtime, but couldn't get a shot past Ilya Bryzgalov (40 saves), the AP reports.
The Ducks arrived in Detroit after a two-game series against the Los Angeles Kings in London at the weekend but showed no signs of jetlag in a fast-paced, entertaining contest.
Henrik Zetterberg opened the scoring on the powerplay in the first period before the Ducks hit back in the second through Todd Bertuzzi and Ryan Getzlaf to nose ahead 2-1.
The Red Wings dominated the final period and Tomas Holmstrom beat netminder Ilya Bryzgalov on the powerplay to take the game to overtime.
With no scoring in the extra session the game went to a shootout and Hudler settled matters by sliding the puck past Bryzgalov.
Detroit's Dominik Hasek was underemployed for most of the game but saved his best for the shootout, stopping all three Ducks snipers to clinch an opening night victory, Reuters reports.
The Ducks were without starting goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere for the first two games in London, as the netminder continues to recover from sports hernia surgery. Giguere is questionable for this evening's matchup, but the start will likely go to steady backup Ilya Bryzgalov.
Meanwhile, the Red Wings will be playing tonight for the first time since dropping Game 6 in Anaheim last May.
Detroit posted 113 points during the regular season last year, but it was still a bit of a surprise to see the Wings make it all the way to the conference finals. Since winning the Stanley Cup in 2002, Detroit had failed to advance to the conference finals in each of its previous three postseasons and had been an opening-round victim twice during that span from 2002-06.
But that changed last year, as the Red Wings rolled into the conference finals before losing to Anaheim. It was an excellent run for Detroit, which counted on a 42-year-old goaltender and a 45-year-old defenseman among its team's assets.
The goaltender (Dominik Hasek) and the defenseman (Chris Chelios) mentioned above are coming back in 2007-08 to take another shot at winning the Cup, and they'll be joined by an excellent cast of polished veterans and budding stars.
Also back for the Red Wings will be Nicklas Lidstrom, who won his fifth Norris Trophy last season as the league's top defenseman.
Detroit has taken four of six and five of the last eight regular-season meetings with the Ducks. The home team has also won five straight in the series, sportsnetwork.com reports.