Marian Hossa, who signed with Detroit for just one year in the hopes of winning a title, was near invisible the first three games of the Red Wings' Western Conference Semifinal series against Anaheim.
Playing on Detroit's second line with playoff heavy lifter Johan Franzen on Thursday, Hossa came to life, scoring two goals in the second period, and Franzen put in two of his own in the first, to fuel the Red Wings' 6-3 victory in Game 4 at Anaheim. There were no early whistles to be heard, and the series heads back to Detroit for Game 5 on Sunday even at two games apiece, with the Red Wings regaining the home-ice advantage.
After Anaheim picked up a quick early score from Corey Perry 42 second in after a turnover by Henrik Zetterberg, Detroit coach Mike Babcock shifted his personnel, reuniting Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk on the top line with Tomas Holmstrom.
Hossa, usually on Datsyuk's line, was pointless in the first three games, but the second line clicked while the Ducks continued to focus on shutting down the Datsyuk line. Franzen had an assist to go with his two goals, and linemate Val Filppula assisted on the first goal, skating toward the net and backing up two Ducks defenders before leaving the puck for Franzen with 8:11 remaining in the first period. Filppula also got an assist on Hossa's second tally. The line generated numerous other good scoring opportunities in the second and third periods. Datsyuk, hampered most of the series by Todd Marchant, has one assist in the series, in Game 1.
Franzen's 19 playoff goals the past two years are the most in the NHL, one reason the Wings recently signed the center to an 11-year contract extension.
Until Thursday, Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller was reviving memories of Jean-Sebastian Giguere in Anaheim's 2003 and 2007 playoff victories over the higher-seeded Red Wings. In Game 4, Giguere came off the bench in place of Hiller after Mikael Samuelsson scored Detroit's fifth goal 2:46 into the third period. Hiller saved 28 of 33 shots, Chris Osgood 25 of 28.
Perry scored twice for the Ducks and had an assist and Scott Niedermayer scored a power-play goal midway through the third period. Zetterberg had an empty-netter for the Wings.