There was a Tim Thomas sighting in Anaheim last night, and for the Dallas Stars that was not a good thing. The Anaheim Ducks exploded for 3 goals in a span of 5:42 early in the third period to turn a close game in to a laugher as they carried the play to a 6-3 win.
Each team got an important player back into the lineup, with the Ducks getting captain Ryan Getzlaf back after a 1 game absence while Brendan Dillon made his playoff debut for the Stars. The returns had mixed results as Getzlaf and linemate Corey Perry each counted a goal and two assists for the winning side while mis-plays from Dillon directly resulted in the first 2 goals of that 3rd period outburst.
It was yet another nasty game in a series of nasty games as there were more than 100 minutes in penalties handed out, including a tide-turning 5 and a game to Ryan Garbutt for spearing Corey Perry midway through the first period. Anaheim had already taken the lead on a Nick Bonino power play goal, and that was a momentum-changing penalty. It started out ok for the Stars, as Getzlaf turned the puck over to Jamie Benn in the Ducks’ slot and he quickly put one past a surprised Frederik Andersen for the shorthanded game-tying goal. However, the Ducks Richard Rackell scored 26 seconds later and the Ducks never really looked back.
Mathieu Perreault added another power play goal early in the third to make it 3-1, which Shawn Horcoff got back before the game was half over, and the Stars stayed close until the second intermission. Jakub Silverberg cashed in on Dillon’s turnover behind the Stars net with his first playoff goal as a Duck, followed quickly by Perry stealing the puck from Dillon and finding Getzlaf in the slot for a quick one timer,a shot which sent Kari Lehtonen to the bench with Thomas mopping up. The Ducks welcomed him to the playoffs and capped the rally with their team record 4th power play goal of the game courtesy Perry, one of only 2 shots Thomas faced in his 14 minutes of action.
The big difference was special teams, with the Ducks going 4 for 7 with the man advantage while holding the Stars to a 0 for 7 run, despite the Stars shorthanded marker.
The Ducks moved in to a 3-2 series lead and will hope to end the series in their first of two chances, Sunday night in Dallas