Devante Smith-Pelly has proven to be a nice addition to the top line for the Anahiem Ducks in the wake of the injury that has forced Matt Beleskey out of the lineup. It wasn’t all wine and roses for the man who has been put in a dream position, but the Ducks will take the good with the bad when it results in a win.
The young burgeoning power forward scored 2 goals in 1:23 early in the second period to break open a 1-1 game and take control of a game where they had to hang on to win. He was also a thorn in the side of the Kings, but his high sticking double minor almost made him the goat as well.
Nick Bonino scored the opening goal for the Ducks after Kings’ defenseman Jake Muzzin fell in the corner and turned the puck over to Daniel Winnick, who found Bonino all alone in the slot and he had an eternity to pick his spot against Jonathan Quick just 2:15 into the first.
Trevor Lewis got that back after a poor line change for the Ducks had them short a man for a few seconds. Lewis carried it in and put a shot that went off the glove of Bryan Allen and over the shoulder of rookie John Gibson. It was the first goal the rookie had allowed in the series after the game 4 shutout.
Smith-Pelly went to work early in the second. His first marker of the game wasn’t pretty, as Mathieu Perreault banked it in off Smith-Pelly while the Anaheim Ducks were on the power play 1:11 in. His goal less than a minute and a half later was much nicer as he took a nice saucer pass from Ryan Getzlaf, broke in alone on Quick and found the back of the net with a backhander to make it 3-1.
Jakob Silfverberg made it 4-1 before the game was half over, when he jumped on a rebound and stuffed it past Quick. As it turned out, the Ducks would need each of those goals, because the Kings took over the game after that.
Marian Gaborik got one back before the second was out, while on a power play,after Smith-Pelly’s high stick on Drew Doughty resulted in a 4 minute sentence. Jeff Carter circled the offensive zone with the puck, and his shot was stopped, but the rebound went right to Muzzin. His shot was fanned, but the fortunate roll went right to the stick of Marian Gaborik who wasted no time in getting the puck past Gibson.
As was the case in game 4, when they allowed just 3 shots over the final 40 minutes, the Kings dominated late. This time they outshot the Ducks 14-3 in the third period. They could only manage to get one past Gibson though, as Gaborik notched his second of the game and playoff-leading 8th when he tipped Dustin Brown‘s backhander past the rookie netminder.
The Kings could get no closer and now have their backs against the wall. Fortunately, they have been in a worse situation than having to win 2 in a row to advance, after winning 4 straight elimination games in the first round against the San Jose Sharks. This time around they only have to win 2. If they can translate their late-game domination to the start of the game they should be able to win when they return home for game 6 on Wednesday night.