ANAHEIM, Calif. -- In the end, the Detroit Red Wings' experience was the difference, Anaheim Ducks star Ryan Getzlaf said.
"Everyone here was up for the game and everyone was excited to play," Getzlaf said after the seventh-seeded Red Wings held off a late charge by the second-seeded Ducks for a 3-2 victory Sunday in Game 7 of the Western Conference quarterfinals at Honda Center on Sunday night. "But we've got a lot of guys who haven't been in that situation (Game 7), and some of the guys who have didn't do a good enough job of leading."
The Red Wings captured the series 4-3 and advanced to the conference semifinals, where they will meet the top-seeded Chicago Blackhawks. The start date for Game 1 in Chicago has yet to be announced, but multiple media outlets reported it would be Wednesday.
"Hard work pays off," Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard said. "Being in this position time and time again at this point in the series, we knew just to go out there and play and leave all out there."
Sunday's result wasn't what Southern California hockey fans wanted. Many were excited about the possibility of the first postseason clash between the Ducks and the Los Angeles Kings, but that will have to wait.
"It's very disappointing. We had two chances to close the series, but we couldn't," Anaheim's Teemu Selanne said. "The goal was to try and play the best of the series in this Game 7, and we couldn't do it. That's very disappointing.
"They played well. Credit to those guys, but it's very disappointing we couldn't play our best game tonight."
Detroit never trailed, scoring less than two minutes into the contest and keeping the Ducks at bay in a game the Red Wings controlled. The Red Wings got a strong performance from Howard, who stopped 31 shots.
Valtteri Filppula scored the game-winning goal when he cashed in a Detroit mistake in the second period. After Henrik Zetterberg missed on a pass to Daniel Cleary near the right circle, Filppula picked up the errant puck and scored at 13:45 of the period, giving Detroit a 3-1 lead.
"It was kind of an ugly goal, but that's how you score those," said Zetterberg, who had a goal and an assist in the win.
The Ducks closed to within a goal when Francois Beauchemin scored on a power play with 3:17 remaining in the game, but the Red Wings held on to knock off the Ducks again in a Game 7. Detroit also prevailed in a seven-game series in 2009.
"It was a tightly contested game all along," said Detroit's Justin Abdelkader, who scored a short-handed goal in the victory. "It was tough. It had to go down as one of the best series in the last short while at least. It was fun to play in, back and forth, and tightly checked. Both teams played well and played hard. It was fun to be a part of."
Anaheim's Jonas Hiller recorded 29 saves, but he didn't play as big a role as Howard when it mattered most.
"He was great all series," Getzlaf said of Howard. "He dominated us all series long. We didn't get enough second opportunities. You can't do that in the playoffs."
The Red Wings attacked from the start. They attempted seven shots to only one for Anaheim in the opening four minutes as the Ducks looked lethargic.
Detroit got the first goal at 1:45 of the opening period when Zetterberg, who didn't score in the first five games before scoring two goals in Game 6, scored on a rebound of a shot by Filppula for his third goal of the series.
The Ducks tied the score on rookie Emerson Etem's goal from the left circle at 13:48 of the opening period.
Detroit took the lead for good late in the period on Abdelkader's short-handed goal. The winger intercepted a pass by Beauchemin and scored on a breakaway for a 2-1 Red Wings advantage with 3:23 left in the first.
NOTES: Etem became the youngest Duck to score a goal in a Game 7 at 20 years, 10 months. ... The Ducks are 2-3 in Game 7s. Their last one occurred in 2009, when they lost to the Red Wings at Detroit. The Ducks won the only previous Game 7 played at Honda Center when they defeated the Phoenix Coyotes in 1997. ... Anaheim defenseman Toni Lydman, who hasn't played since receiving a jarring hit in Game 3 that resulted in a two-game suspension for Abdelkader, was scratched again for Game 7. ... The game drew a sell-out crowd of 17,412.