ANAHEIM — Some day, perhaps, the Ducks will do something the mundane way.
Tuesday was not that day.
They still have yet to win a game in regulation this season. But that got pushed to the corner after they were less than a minute from losing in regulation – then tied the score to force overtime – and defeated the Detroit Red Wings, 3-2, at Honda Center after the Red Wings dominated the extra session.
Ryan Strome, set up by Trevor Zegras, earlier took advantage of Tyler Bertuzzi’s turnover in front of his net, and scored with 49.4 seconds left in overtime.
So what about the easy way?
“No, slow steps,” Strome said, smiling.
It was the first win in four games for the Ducks, who are 3-0 in overtime this season. Their other two victories have come via the shootout.
“I tried to pick it off and saw Z (Zegras) and he froze the goalie and gave me an empty net,” Strome said. “I basically skated it right in. Great pass by him.”
He added that there was a belief on the bench that they were going to find a way to win.
“That’s a tough feeling to have when things haven’t been going well for us,” Strome said. “Because we had that mindset, because it worked out for us, hopefully we can learn from that.”
Speaking of steps forward … defenseman John Klingberg scored his first goal with the Ducks to get it to overtime – with 46.2 seconds remaining as Ducks goalie John Gibson was pulled for an extra attacker. Klingberg fired a shot from the blue line through traffic past Red Wings goalie Ville Husso. Defenseman Cam Fowler, who had gone without a point in 11 games, assisted on both Ducks goals in regulation.
Klingberg, who played his entire NHL career in Dallas before signing with the Ducks as a free agent in July, had seven assists in his first 15 games with the Ducks. The adjustment period hasn’t been easy for him and was more noticeable with the Ducks (5-10-1) struggling.
“A goal like that does a lot,” Ducks coach Dallas Eakins said. “It’s really easy for coaches and parents and agents to tell a player, ‘Hey keep with it, don’t lose your confidence. Everything is going great.’ As a player, you do start to question your ability: Can I put it in the net again? What’s going on?
“For him to score a huge goal like that for us tonight is going to be a great reminder that he can be an elite defenseman in this league. He can score. (Klingberg) is an extremely competitive kid. He always has a bit of a fire in his belly.”
Additionally, Klingberg had been dealing with illness, missing practice on Monday.
“I told him if he scored, we’d call it the Michael Jordan flu game,” Strome said. “We’ll call it the John Klingberg flu game.”
Said Klingberg: “It’s always fun to score goals, but I think if I start shooting more pucks eventually good things are going to happen.”
It was only the second goal scored by a Ducks defenseman this season.
“It’s tough to talk about individuals when the team hasn’t been good in general,” Strome said. “When you’ve come from a really good team and you’re part of a system that’s been really winning. It’s easy to play like that. The situation we’re in – it’s a little bit tougher. It’s tough on guys.
“I thought tonight he was unreal. I thought we found each other a couple of times – made some nice plays. That’s the type of hockey he plays. Sometimes in his game, it’s easy to critique him, but sometimes it’s on the guys that are trying to get open too.”
It was a much stronger effort for the Ducks than last month’s loss in Detroit – a 5-1 defeat. The Red Wings got a goal from rookie Jonatan Berggren (his first NHL goal), and another on a strong individual effort from Michael Rassmussen, who fought off pressure from Ducks defenseman Simon Benoit, and spun around to beat Gibson with a wrist shot.
That gave the Red Wings a 2-1 lead with 34.3 seconds remaining in the second period.
Before Klingberg’s late goal, the Ducks had plenty of power-play time in the final 20 minutes, including almost a minute of 5-on-3. But they didn’t record a shot on goal during the two-man advantage.
Earlier, there were signs of improvement. Their power play – which was ranked last in the league to begin the day, produced a goal in the first period at 17:47. Rookie forward Mason McTavish scored his second goal of the season, tying it, 1-1
It was a special night for Ducks forward Sam Carrick, who was playing his first NHL game since April 17. Carrick underwent offseason hip surgery in May and was activated after playing four games with the Ducks’ minor league affiliate in San Diego.
He was eased back into action – playing just 4:38 on the fourth line with Brett Leason and McTavish, who was moved back to the middle. Forward Max Comtois came out of the lineup, scratched for the first time this season.
“He’s a little banged up,” Eakins said. “And it’s affecting his game. It’s obviously something that we want to get resolved so that he has the opportunity to play at his highest level. Up and down our left side – other than probably one spot – it’s a real battle every night for who is going to get the minutes.”
The other scratches were defensemen Nathan Beaulieu (upper-body injury) and Drew Helleson. Helleson, who was acquired in the Josh Manson trade with Colorado in March, had two points (one goal, one assist) in 13 games with the San Diego Gulls. With defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk (lower-body injury) going on IR on Tuesday, the Ducks recalled Helleson.
COMEBACK = COMPLETE ✅
— NHL (@NHL) November 16, 2022
We are tied with 46 seconds left! pic.twitter.com/vGLC3becaN
— Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) November 16, 2022