Ducks Take Series Lead Over Stars

ANAHEIM—The home advantage for the Ducks worked out as their game at home was of success. Anaheim scored three unanswered in the third period to win 6-2 over the Dallas Stars at the Honda Center. They take a 3-2 series lead in a best of seven Western quarterfinal.

With the series tied and both teams playing hard on their home ice, a chance was still there for a change in the series, but the Ducks were the ones playing home this time. Before scoring could come to their home team’s sticks, a strong man to man coverage began the play in the first period where the defense fought on the boards attempting to fight the puck away from the Stars early. The frustration showed from the Stars as they tallied their first penalty of the game where Antoine Russell made contact with Ducks goaltender Frederik Andersen.

The Ducks didn’t waste the opening man advantage and worked out a two man play. Captain Ryan Getzlaf made a pass out to Nick Bonino where a slide ahead of Jordie Benn gave him a window of opportunity on the glove side of Kari Lehtonen to take the lead. The defenseman later tried to make up for the mistake by scoring a goal, but was waved off due to teammate Shawn Horcoff deflecting with the stick above the Anaheim crossbar.

Corey Perry took a rough hit nine minutes in from Dallas left winger Ryan Garbutt where he head butted the veteran forward into the ice causing him to bleed profusely all over. It sent Garbutt off the ice with a game misconduct immediately putting the Ducks on a five minute power play. It didn’t work out for them at first where Dallas captain Jamie Benn went on a shorthanded play scoring an unassisted backhander for his fourth of the playoffs. The Ducks still had time on the major penalty where Francois Beauchemin made the 2-1 difference in the score giving credit to Rickard Rakell with the tip in on the puck for his first of the post season.

The Ducks began to make mistakes with numerous penalties giving the chance for Dallas to tie up. Despite their best efforts, they were unable to make plays with Anaheim still covering the scoring lines in their end inevitably becoming an early problem for Dallas.

The second period had the Ducks on the power play from late in the first where Mathieu Perreault scored with a wrister from Getzlaf’s pass on the opposite side shooting on the stick side. The Ducks continued to hold the game on their side until the mistakes came back to haunt them. Emerson Etem made an attack on Antoine Roussel where he returned the favor sending both off the ice for unsportsmanlike conduct penalties.

It put Dallas on a short 5 on 3 that was worked off by the seemingly tight Ducks top three to move it back into even strength. The Stars made a statement by making it a one goal lead for Anaheim where Horcoff earned credit in front of the crease from a shot taken by Vernon Fiddler. At the end of 40 minutes, Dallas had taken a great amount of time with the puck shooting 28 on the goal of Andersen.

The third period was all Ducks, as they came right out of the second intermission on a score from Jakob Silfverberg. Getzlaf and the return of Perry on the ice mirrored the same played three minutes later where the Ducks captain earned the scoring credit on the pass from Perry. Their lead became a large three goal margin that didn’t look to be broken with the breakdown of defense from the Stars just four minutes in. It came to the end of Lehtonen who was traded out for Tim Thomas in his first playoff action since the Bruins in 2010. Perry made his biggest statement two minutes later while on the power play scoring a wrist shot on a wide open net going around Thomas and making it a four goal lead.

With the Stars completely out of the game, they changed their game play and went on a physical approach instead. Both teams got into a major fight with numerous penalties being written up by NHL officials. Perreault, Luca Sbisa and Patrick Maroon were kicked off the ice along with Dallas’ Kevin Connauton, Fiddler and Horcoff. Bryan Allen had one last measure from the Ducks side as he whacked Alex Chiasson in the face taking a double minor in the process. With many players off for the Stars, their chance of scoring goals was small leading to a wasted time on the man advantage. As the horn sounded, and the damage being done, Roussel roughed up Allen one last time.

A total of 121 penalty minutes were handed out with the Stars recording the majority with 64. The bad blood will be around when both teams head back to the American Airlines arena for a Game 6 showdown. With the success of both teams playing on home ice, the chances of a Game 7 are possible depending if the Stars can put the night on the back burner.