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OT Game Winner Clinches Series For Ducks
Posted by Rudy Martinez on Apr 28, 2014 - 2:21:55 PM

The two teams shake hands after the conclusion of Anaheim's overtime win over the Dallas Stars.
—Nick Bonino and his tenacity of fight against the Dallas Stars set the Ducks a series victory in overtime. The late third period rush from the Ducks forced overtime in a comeback that helped their 5-4 win in overtime Sunday night for them to advancing to the Western Conference Semifinals.


Dallas was prepared to give it all at American Airlines Arena in order to force a Game 7. The Stars controlled puck possession in the opening minutes of the first period attacking Anaheim goaltender Frederik Andersen who has seen every game this series. The offense took it a step higher after killing off the Ducks power play with a sudden switch where a stretch pass caught Anaheim off guard. The reception of the pass by Trevor Daley set him up with a one on one with Andersen to deke him out and score the game’s first goal.


Cody Eakin made it a 2-0 lead on the man advantage where a drive to the glove side flew by the netminder giving the forward his second of the series. Anaheim got their defense in order before it was too late killing off Dallas’ third power play with Andersen stopping a drive from the pads followed by his support team to clear the play out. It took time for the Ducks to get their offense in gear after a sloppy start with the man to man coverage. With two minutes left to play, Devante Smith-Pelly set himself in the crease and wristed on the high slot of Kari Lehtonen cutting their lead in half.


The Stars intent on keeping the pace in their control responded with 60 seconds left on the clock countering on a bad pass in the Anaheim zone. Ryan Garbutt skated forward towards the net and pushed the puck through traffic and across the goal line for his third of the playoffs. The Stars outshot Anaheim 11-8 and with a pair of goals buffering the two teams a first period showing was something to concern the Ducks.


The fight wasn’t out of the Ducks entirely who made a fight back into contention. The fourth minute saw a lucky break from Teemu Selanne who rifled a shot finding Ben Lovejoy in the crease scoring on a tip in, making it a one goal game. The remainder of the period was a mistake filled moment for the Ducks who failed to convert on a power play.


It helped out the Stars midway into the game where Daley added another goal on a second stretch pass, this time from Alex Goligoski to return a sizable margin. It led to Andersen being pulled from the net and replaced by Jonas Hiller seeing his first playoff start this postseason. Anaheim handed the Stars more scoring chances on three power plays in the period that were fortunate to be played off by the Anaheim PK unit and a new goaltender keeping the game as close as it was.


The Ducks were still down by two and had 20 minutes to make their comeback and break the hearts of the Stars and their fans while being away from home. With the game being fought for most of the third, the Stars looked to have the game in the bag. Before they could celebrate, Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau took a much needed time out discussing a plan that just might work. Pulling Hiller from the ice with three left gave Anaheim a chance to make up for being shorthanded. The veteran line fought hard with Corey Perry setting a pass behind the Dallas net catching the stick of Nick Bonino. He made a wrap around attempt wrist shot on the high slot making it a one goal game once again.


With the conclusion of the roughing penalty, the Ducks added the sixth man to the ice putting the pressure on Dallas who began to show a scrambled defense in their end. The Ducks showed desperation, as they tried to firing random shots on Lehtonen only to be denied. It didn’t stop the battle from the Ducks who slapped sticks in the crease where Smith-Pelly scored the tying goal with 25.9 seconds left. It quieted the arena for the remainder of regulation setting a sudden death moment for the Stars who were feeling it all on their backs.


Hiller was having none of it keeping the net tight while Dallas took a shot that went wide and another that deflected and found the post. It inevitably set up the Ducks with a chance to make it count and end the series. On a pass play into the Dallas end, Andrew Cogliano fought the puck away from the Stars finding Bonino wide open at center to make the quick pass to him. This allowed the game winning goal and his second of the night.


The upset took the air out of the arena for the Stars and their support watching their season come to an end. Lehtonen’s 25 saves gave him his fourth loss and sixth overall in his career. Playing second string was not where Hiller wished to be but with a 12 save shutout, just winning was enough for the Swiss netminder who gained his first win so far. The early exit of the Stars gives the Ducks plenty of time to rest before it can be determined who they will face next. One thing can be certain of the coming future, Anaheim will have a rivalry on their hands before taking one step closer to winning Lord Stanley’s Cup.


Cliffside Malibu




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