Holmstrom steps up for Red Wings in Game 3
Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock returned to his stomping grounds and reminded Anaheim hockey fans how good of a strategist he is.
Seeking a more balanced attack, the former Ducks bench boss juggled all four of his forward lines for Game 3 of the NHL Western Conference final and was handsomely rewarded on Tuesday night.
Tomas Holmstrom scored twice and added an assist as three of the four new-look units produced a goal in a 5-0 Red Wings laugher in Anaheim. Red Wings goaltender Dominik Hasek, made 29 saves for his second shutout of the 2007 post-season, and 14th of his illustrious career in the playoffs.
The career playoff coaching record of Babcock, who guided the Ducks to the 2003 Stanley Cup finals, improved to 27-15.
"We had lots of speed tonight," said Holmstrom, who has five goals andeight points in 12 games in this year's playoffs. "We played a really solid hockey game."
Detroit will take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series into Game 4 on Thursday (CBC, 9 p.m. ET).
Frustration set in for Anaheim midway through the second period with the Red Wings ahead 4-0. Ducks forward Rob Niedermayer was assessed a five-minute major for boarding and a game misconduct for driving Holmstrom's face into the glass with some help from teammate Chris Pronger.
The hit knocked Holmstrom's helmet off and the left-winger crumpled to the ice, lying there for several minutes. The Detroit training staff rushed onto the ice and helped him to the dressing room.
"I was very surprised about the call," Niedermayer said. "All I did was take a few strides, finish my check, and hit him with my shoulder. You don't want to see anybody hurt out there, that's for sure."
Television replays indicated Pronger, who had been jawing with Holmstrom earlier in the game, had inflicted more damage on the hit with his left elbow.
Holmstrom, who returned for the start of the third period after receiving 13 stitches to close a couple of cuts on his forehead,shrugged when asked if it was a dirty hit.
"I got run into the boards, got hit again," he said. "I never saw the guy come from behind."
Babcock questioned why any player would ram another's head into the boards.
"I'm a big believer in looking after each other," said Babcock. "I don't care how much is on the line at any time, you have to look after the other player.
"When he doesn't see you and you decide you're going to bury his head off the turn buckle or whatever, that's a decision you make."
Holmstrom missed the first three games of a Round 2 series against San Jose with an eye injury.
Johan Franzen, Valtteri Filppula and Todd Bertuzzialso scored for the Red Wings, who have won four of their last five road games and improved to 7-1 in the post-season when scoring the first goal.
Henrik Zetterberg and Nicklas Lidstrom had two assists each.
After Franzen notched Detroit's first even-strength goal in nine-plus periods, Holmstrom posted his team's fifth power-play marker of the series at 19:17 of the first period with Pronger serving a hooking penalty. Of Holmstrom's 31 career playoff goals, 16 have come on the power play.
Bertuzzi, with his first goal in 11 games, and Holmstrom put the game away when they scored 17 seconds apart early in the second period.
"Things really spiralled down quickly for our group in the second," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. "Our frustration level got up there and we didn't show the necessary discipline that's required."
Giguere chased from net
Holmstrom chased Jean-Sebastien Giguere from the Anaheim net when he banged in a loose puck in the crease at the 3:34 mark.
Giguere, who began the night with a sparkling 1.51 goals-against average in these playoffs, allowed four goals on 12 shots. Ilya Bryzgalov took over and turned aside 13 of 14 shots.
By that time, the Ducks had hurt their chances of a comeback attempt with undisciplined play, taking six penalties in the second period. In one stretch, Anaheim was penalized nine consecutive times.
When it wasn't killing a penalty, Anaheim was thwarted by Hasek.
Meanwhile, Anaheim winger Chris Kunitz underwent surgery Tuesday to repair a broken bone in his right hand suffered in the series opener.
With files from the Canadian Press