Marian Hossa finally found his scoring touch and banked two goals to help the Detroit Red Wings even up their Western Conference semi-final series with a 6-3 triumph over the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday.
Winger Hossa was the defending Stanley Cup champions’ leading scorer in the regular season but had been shutout in this playoff series before his go-ahead wrister at 16:02 in the second period.
“The hard work finally paid off,” said the Slovakian, who added his second three minutes after the first to put Detroit 4-2 up. “We needed to get momentum. [Johan Franzen] started us off with two quick goals and I tried to follow him. Anaheim has a lot of big bodies, and you’re going to get hit, it just depends on how you rebound.”
The four-goal tally from Franzen and Hossa boosted the Red Wings to 2-2 in the best-of-seven series, preventing them from going two games down to Anaheim who had eliminated them from postseason play twice in the last six seasons.
After Anaheim’s Corey Perry started the game with a goal 42 seconds into the contest, Swede Franzen beat Swiss goaltender Jonas Hiller twice in the first period.
Hiller, who came into the game having faced 108 shots in the previous two games alone, was pulled in the third after making 28 saves and surrendering five goals.
Mikael Samuelsson and Henrik Zetterberg poured on scores in the third period to give the Red Wings a confidence boost as they head back to Detroit for game five today.
Detroit was sparked by a new line that included center Valtteri Filppula, who had two assists.
Red Wings goalkeeper Chris Osgood made 25 saves.
Perry had two goals and one assist for Anaheim, who were without defenseman James Wisniewski after he sustained a bruised lung in game three on Tuesday.
Scott Niedermayer had a power-play goal for the Ducks at 10:03 in the third to cut the deficit to 5-3.
“They have a good hockey club, but that being said, we weren’t nearly good enough and they capitalized,” Ducks center Todd Marchant said. “The next game is going to be huge. We’ll watch the film and correct our mistakes and be ready.”
■BLACKHAWKS V CANUCKS
Andrew Ladd tipped in teammate Dave Bolland’s long shot less than 3 minutes into overtime to give the Chicago Blackhawks a 2-1 comeback victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday to level the NHL Western semi-final at 2-2.
Game five is scheduled for tonight in Vancouver.
Martin Havlat tied it at 1 with 2:44 left in regulation after it looked as if Roberto Luongo was going to shut out the Blackhawks. Ladd shoveled the puck off the boards and Havlat’s wrist shot from the between circles beat Luongo high.
In overtime, Bolland chased down the puck along the boards and fired a shot from beyond the right circle. Ladd was in front of Luongo and tipped it in at 2:52.
Ladd’s winning goal came after the Canucks had two point-blank shots to score, but were turned away by Nikolai Khabibulin.
Darcy Hordichuk opened the scoring for Vancouver midway through the second period, taking a pass from a spinning Rick Rypien and beating Khabibulin.