NHL Playoffs 2013: Justin Abdelkader's Hit, Mistakes Cost Red Wings in Game 3

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NHL Playoffs 2013: Justin Abdelkader's Hit, Mistakes Cost Red Wings in Game 3
Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

The puck dropped at Joe Louis Arena for Game 3 between the Detroit Red Wings and Anaheim Ducks on Saturday night, and before long, it was clear that penalties were going to play a huge factor.

The first period was filled with the sound of the referee’s whistle. There were a variety of calls, from interference and roughing to tripping and delay of game. By the end of the period, the Ducks had taken four penalties, while the Red Wings had been sent off three times.

And yet, despite all the power play time including two-man advantages, there wasn't a single goal scored in the first period.

In the second frame, there were far fewer penalty calls, but there was one in particular that had a significant impact.

The play occurred deep in the corner of the Ducks’ zone, with just under five minutes remaining in the period. Justin Abdelkader skated through the slot and leveled Toni Lydman as he passed the puck off. Abdelkader was given a five-minute major for charging and a game misconduct.

According to NHL.com, Rule 42 (charging) states the following:

A minor or major penalty shall be imposed on a player who skates or jumps into, or charges an opponent in any manner. Charging shall mean the actions of a player who, as a result of distance traveled, shall violently check an opponent in any manner.

Given the nature of the hit and the fact that Lydman didn't return, Abdelkader may face supplemental discipline from Brendan Shanahan and the Department of Player Safety. Remember, Eric Gryba was handed a two-game suspension for what many saw as a clean hit with a bad result during Game 2 of the Senators vs. Canadiens series.

On the ice, Detroit paid the price almost immediately, as Nick Bonino scored less than 30 seconds into the power play. The Red Wings managed to kill off the rest of the major penalty, but the momentum was in the Ducks favor as they went into the second break up 1-0.

The Red Wings had a chance to even the score on yet another man advantage early in the third, but it was the Ducks who capitalized.

With the power play nearing an end, Damien Brunner skated out from behind the Red Wings’ net, only to have the puck poked away by Ryan Getzlaf. Jimmy Howard tried unsuccessfully to play the puck, and Getzlaf went around him and scored on the empty cage.

It was a devastating blow for the Red Wings. Two poor decisions had resulted in two goals for the Ducks.

Anaheim scored again shortly after, before putting the game away completely with their second power play goal of the night to make it 4-0.

The Red Wings had limited chances, the best of which was a Johan Franzen breakaway, which Jonas Hiller stopped easily—one of the 23 saves he made en route to his third career playoff shutout.

In the end, Detroit was outshot, outhit, had fewer blocked shots, too many turnovers and most importantly, they failed to score on six power plays.

They’re going to need much better effort overall, if they want to go back to Anaheim with the series tied 2-2. 

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