Deadmarsh scored 98 seconds into the third period to blunt the Red Wings' momentum as the Los Angeles Kings held on for a 3-2 victory and seized a stunning three games to two lead in their Western Conference quarterfinal series.
Deadmarsh thrived against Detroit in the postseason as a member of the Colorado Avalanche. Traded to Los Angeles on February 21, he was held to one assist in the first four games of this series.
But 65 seconds after Vyacheslav Kozlov scored to awaken the sellout crowd at Joe Louis Arena, Deadmarsh finished off a 2-on-1 by taking a perfect cross-slot pass from Ziggy Palffy and whipping a wrist shot past scrambling goaltender Chris Osgood.
"Anytime you get scored against, you want to bounce back those next few shifts and try to get the momentum back," Deadmarsh explained. "Ziggy made an outstanding play. I had a wide-open net with that pass he gave me, so he definitely made it happen."
Deadmarsh's 23rd career playoff goal silenced the fans, gave the Kings a 3-1 lead and enabled them to maintain their composure.
"I don't know the explanation, but I played these guys a number of times in the past, had some good series with them," he said. "We've lost a few and won a few, really had a great rivalry with these guys."
Detroit got within 3-2 on Chris Chelios' goal with 7:14 remaining and had a 15-4 edge in shots in the final period. But Brendan Shanahan's blast from above the right faceoff circle in the final seconds deflected just wide of the right goalpost as goaltender Felix Potvin and the Kings survived.
Los Angeles can capture its first playoff series since the 1993 conference finals at home on Monday night.
"We feel good about ourselves," said Kings left wing Luc Robitaille. "We know what it takes to win, but if we let up for one second, those guys are going to stick it to us.
"There's no doubt in my mind these guys are going to have their best game the next game. They're champions. These guys have a lot of experience, they know what it takes to win, so we're going to see their best game next game."
The Red Wings had not lost at home in 21 games since December 27. They got a boost from the unexpected return of Shanahan, who suffered a broken foot in Game One, but could not reverse the momentum in the series. Detroit is in danger of losing a playoff series after winning the first two games at home for the first time since 1993.
"I can't explain it," Shanahan said. "Some things have to change. Some things better change. A 60-minute game wasn't there. I think we're angry, I wouldn't say shaken up. We still think we can win this series. We're angry with ourselves."
Ironically, Potvin was with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1993 when they came back to beat Detroit in the decisive seventh game of the conference quarterfinals.
"I think all it does is maybe you know when you're down 2-0, you know that you can come back. But you've got to realize this is a brand new year and a different series," Potvin said. "We've got to remember we haven't accomplished anything yet."
On Wednesday, Los Angeles rallied for three goals in the final 6:07 of regulation and tied the series on Eric Belanger's tally 2:36 into overtime. The Kings carried the momentum of that stunning comeback into Saturday's game.
Just 75 seconds into the opening period, Los Angeles defenseman Mattias Norstrom flipped the puck out of his zone and Palffy outraced Steve Duchesne to reach it in the Detroit zone. He shook off Duchesne's hook and put a short wrist shot by Osgood for his second goal of the series.
The Kings struck quickly again in the second period. Belanger threw the puck across the goalmouth to Ian Laperriere, who banged in a shot at 1:51 for his first playoff goal since 1998.
Outshot 21-14 through 40 minutes, the Red Wings heard boos as they left the ice.
"Some guys' hearts didn't even really show up tonight. That's embarrassing," said Osgood. "That's what (ticks) you off more than anything. Some guys didn't, and they know who they are. You don't have to name names, but it's not right.
"We put it on a silver platter for them. The way we're playing, we're not going to win. We're playing right into their hands. We're giving up too many odd-man rushes and it's killing us. We have to play a heckuva lot better in LA. ... We've got to show more passion."
Detroit came to life 33 seconds into the third as Potvin stopped Duchesne's blast from the blue line but lost sight of the puck that was resting against his stick. Kozlov jabbed it over the goal line for his fourth goal of the series.
"Tonight, we created our chances in the third period. We definitely pressed in the third with a lot of near-misses," Red Wings coach Scotty Bowman said. "Plays like that, most periods, we'll score a few goals. We got two. It's unfortunate they scored what ended up being the game-winner so quickly after we got back in the game."