Anaheim Ducks netminder Jonas Hiller had his feathers ruffled by a mule on Thursday night.
Johan (Mule) Franzen posted two goals and one assist as the defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings humbled Hiller and the hometown Ducks 6-3 in Game 4 of their Western Conference semifinal at the Honda Center.
Franzen has scored 17 goals in his last 18 playoff games.
"We played with high tempo," he said. "We need things like that to break down that goalie, so we did a great job tonight."
Hiller, competing in the post-season for the first time, had been the story of the series, kicking out 138 of 145 shots for a remarkable .952 save percentage in the first three meetings.
However, in Game 4, he yielded five goals on 33 shots before being yanked in favour of former Conn Smythe Trophy winner Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who faced six shots before Henrik Zetterberg completed the scoring with an empty-net goal with 2:33 remaining.
"They just outplayed us," Hiller said. "It was probably our worst playoff game we have played so far."
"We just weren't good enough as a team and goaltending is part of the team and that is the bottom line," Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle fumed.
The best-of-seven series is tied at 2-2, with Game 5 at Detroit on Sunday (5 p.m. ET).
"We feel good about the win," Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock said. "We're now in a best-of-three.
"It is kind of what I expected coming into the series and now it is up for grabs. These are two good teams playing hard."
Marian Hossa tallied twice and Mikael Samuelsson had the other goal for the second-ranked Red Wings.
Chris Osgood made 25 saves to halt a two-game losing skid.
Corey Perry paced the eighth-seeded Ducks with two goals and one assist.
Scott Niedermayer tallied Anaheim's third goal and Ryan Getzlaf had two assists in a losing cause.
"We did some really uncharacteristic things tonight," Ducks forward Todd Marchant said. "We turned the puck over numerous times in the neutral zone."
"No one said it was going to be easy," Ducks defenceman Francois Beauchemin muttered.
'That should never have gone into the net'
Anaheim opened the scoring 42 seconds into the contest as Chris Pronger sprung Perry with a long pass and he fooled Osgood with a wrist shot inside the right post for his fifth goal of the playoffs.
Franzen knotted it at the 11:49 mark as he received a drop pass from Valteri Filppula and fired a snap shot between Hiller's pads for his fifth.
"That should have never gone into the net," Carlyle said, mindful that Hiller has been beaten five-hole three times in the series.
Franzen put Detroit ahead 2-1 with 36 seconds left in the first period, tipping Niklas Kronwall's point shot for his second goal in less than eight minutes — and team-high sixth.
"It seems like he is one of the best right now when he is around the net," Hossa said of Franzen. "He has got a great touch right around the crease."
Getzlaf helped the Ducks pull even as he spun in the slot and fed the puck to Perry, who beat Osgood with a rising shot to the stick side for his second goal of the game 11:03 into the second period.
Five minutes later, Franzen retrieved the puck in the corner and fed Hossa in the slot for his third.
"Mule made a nice pass to me in the high slot and that is the position where I usually like to shoot," Hossa said. "It is always nice after a couple of games when you don't score to get one."
With Franzen and Niedermayer jostling in front of Hiller, Nicklas Lidstrom then faked a shot and slid a pass to a circling Hossa, who ripped it through heavy traffic for his second goal in a span of 3:02.
The Red Wings took a 5-3 lead on Samuelsson's second goal, ending Hiller's evening 2:46 into the third period.
"For whatever reason, tonight we didn't have it and they did," Marchant said.