Nicklas Lidstrom, Johan Franzen Fly Higher Than Anaheim Ducks

Ryan LarimoreContributor IMay 1, 2009

DETROIT - MAY 01:  Nicklas Lidstrom #5 of the Detroit Red Wings tuns up ice with the puck while playing the Anaheim Ducks in Game One of the Western Conference Semifinals of the 2009 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on May 1, 2009 at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan. Detroit won the game 3-2 to take a 1-0 series lead.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

The cliché comes out every year around this time, “Detroit isn’t tough enough” and “they don’t have any fighters.” Watching tonight’s game against the Ducks should mute the beating of that drum, and strike fear into anyone counting on that to be their team’s saving grace.

Two out of three of Detroit’s goals were due to heavy traffic, and disruptions in front of the net.  Rookie Jonathan Ericsson showed the Duck’s that the Detroit will be delivering some physical play right back at the bruising team from Anaheim. Ericsson pumped up the nervous crowd at the Joe by taking on Corey Perry who also scored the game’s first goal.

The Ducks preached not taking penalties against the Red Wings, and staying disciplined. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case in this one, penalty kill specialist Mike Brown took a five minute major penalty for interference, which “only” ended up costing them one goal. Hudler left the game briefly, but returned in the second seemingly back at 100 percent.

Teemu Selanne was a bright spot for the Ducks, with an extra pep in his step Selanne ended up scoring a game tying power play goal late in the second, to draw the team even through two periods.

Nick Lidstrom showed that he still has a scoring touch to go along with the standard, nearly flawless play in the back end. Scoring two goals and notching one assist, Lidstrom guided his team to a 3-2 nail biter.


The Franzen effect

On top of scoring mind blowingly agile goals, for the second time this post season, a player on the opposing team was paying so much attention to Franzen around the net-- that Chris Pronger ended up putting himself out of position, and costing his team a goal.  Franzen co-leads the wings in points thus far in the playoffs, and looks poised to continue through this series.

Hiller still solid 

Jonas Hiller still looked very solid in the Duck’s net, stopping 31 of 34 shots. The Ducks will have to figure out how to solve traffic issues in front of Hiller if they want to continue on to the Western Conference Finals.