ANAHEIM, Calif. — Henrik Zetterberg took a few well-deserved deep breaths before he packed his bags in the Detroit Red Wings’ dressing room.
After seven games, four overtimes, three trips to California, countless momentum swings and a few frantic minutes at the close of Game 7, the Red Wings finally finished off Anaheim.
Their captain scored an early goal and made a late mistake, but the Wings survived to earn a second-round series much closer to home.
Zetterberg and Valtteri Filppula each had a goal and an assist, and the Red Wings eliminated the Ducks with a 3-2 victory Sunday night.
Justin Abdelkader scored a short-handed goal and Jimmy Howard made 31 saves as the seventh-seeded Red Wings won three of the first-round series’ final four games to oust the Ducks, who had the NHL’s third-best record in the regular season.
For the first time in the series, the Red Wings didn’t even need overtime to win. They largely dominated the anti-climactic clincher — until Zetterberg’s delay-of-game penalty allowed Anaheim to get within one goal.
“We did a great job getting off to a good start, and then we protected it there at the end,” said Zetterberg, who scored three goals in the series’ final two games after getting blanked in the first five. “A lot of us have been in tough situations like this before, so we knew how to play this type of game.”
Detroit faces top-seeded Chicago in the second round, and the Red Wings already are relishing the prospect of shorter flights during their final postseason in the Western Conference.
RANGERS 1, CAPITALS 0
NEW YORK — Henrik Lundqvist stopped 27 shots in earning his seventh NHL playoff shutout, and Derick Brassard scored a second-period goal for New York, which stayed alive with a victory over Washington that forced a Game 7 in the first-round series.
Brassard handed Lundqvist the lead at 9:39 of the second period, with a goal that was originally credited to struggling forward Rick Nash.
The reigning Vezina Trophy winner made it stand up, and helped send the series back to Washington for the deciding game Monday night.
The home team has won all six games in the series.
The game ended with a melee in the far left corner in the New York zone after the final buzzer had sounded.
MAPLE LEAFS 2, BRUINS 1
TORONTO — Captain Dion Phaneuf and Phil Kessel scored third-period goals and Toronto edged Boston to send the playoff series back to Boston for Game 7.
Game 7 is Monday night in Boston.
Milan Lucic scored for Boston with 26 seconds left in the third.
The Maple Leafs have momentum after two consecutive wins.
James Reimer made 29 saves for the Maple Leafs.
For Phaneuf, scoring a goal was a bit of redemption after being involved in the play that led to the Bruins’ overtime winner in Game 4.
Phaneuf’s goal at 1:48 of the third period came after Nazem Kadri ripped a wrist shot that was tipped in by Phaneuf, who had made his way to the front of the goal after continuing his rush.
Kessel then added to the lead at 8:59, picking up the puck after James van Riemsdyk dealt with two Bruins in front of goal and backhanded it past Tuukka Rask.
Kadri beat Patrice Bergeron on the faceoff to start the play.
Rask finished with 24 saves.