Smith-Pelly, Gibson help Ducks take 3-2 series lead
May 13, 2014INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
ANAHEIM -- The "Beat L.A.!" chants grew to a deafening roar at Honda Center on Monday night, practically echoing 30 miles up the freeway.
After an odd four games of the Western Conference Second Round series in which the dominant puck possession team has lost, the Anaheim Ducks seized control with their offensive depth in a 4-3 win in Game 5 against the Los Angeles Kings.
Anaheim took a 3-2 lead in the best-of-7-series and can eliminate its Southern California rival in Game 6 on Wednesday at Staples Center (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS).
"I haven't really thought about that too much," Teemu Selanne said of a potential trip to the Western Conference Final. "My heartbeat is still 200 [miles per hour]. I needed some nitrous at the end of the game there. But, obviously that's the next plan. Let's try to play the best game the next game and close this thing and go from there."
The Ducks received another strong performance from 20-year-old rookie goalie John Gibson, who made 39 saves and has stopped 67 of 70 shots in the first two Stanley Cup Playoff games of his career. Devante Smith-Pelly, 21, had one of the better games of his young career with two goals, and the Ducks got goals from three lines and points from 11 players.
Smith-Pelly was the first star of the game and Gibson was No. 3. Each spent most of the season with the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League, who are down 3-1 to the St. John's IceCaps in the AHL's Eastern Conference Final.
"Norfolk's not happy," Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau joked. "Those guys have come up and all of them played such big roles … the youth is really carrying us right now. They're solid NHL players."
Los Angeles switched up his lines, presumably to counter Anaheim's depth, but it uncharacteristically handled the puck poorly and the Ducks took advantage in the first two periods and grabbed a 4-1 lead.
"When all four lines are scoring, it's really tough to beat us," Anaheim center Nick Bonino said. "When we put up that many goals, we've got such great goaltending that four goals we would hope should be enough."
It almost wasn't.
Los Angeles pulled within 4-3 on Marian Gaborik's second goal of the game at 14:12 of the third. Gibson anchored Anaheim during a second straight furious third-period rally by the Kings, who outshot the Ducks 14-2 in the third.
But Gibson held his ground. He began with a glove stop on Tyler Toffoli in the first period and made a four-save flurry during a Kings power play in the second.
Gibson wasn't born when Selanne entered the NHL, and Selanne got in more one-liners when reminded of it.
"He was joking [that] his mom is the same age is me and I almost punched him," Selanne said. "One of us is in the wrong place, and it's not him."
Smith-Pelly began a stretch of three goals in 7:12 in the second period when he redirected Mathieu Perreault's shot home after Selanne's nifty feed on the power play at 1:11. Smith-Pelly scored again on a breakaway at 2:34 and Jakob Silfverberg later followed with a rebound conversion at 8:23 to make it 4-1.
Smith-Pelly knelt down for a huge fist pump after his goal in a pose that reflected Anaheim's enthusiasm. His five playoff goals lead the team and are tied for fifth in the NHL.
"We're just having a lot of fun," Smith-Pelly said. "It's fun to play in the playoffs. This is what you dream about when you grow up. We're just trying to enjoy it, and so far, it's gone pretty well."
All three goals came following mistakes by the Kings. Justin Williams took an offensive zone hooking penalty that led to Smith-Pelly's first goal before Alec Martinez made an egregious pass that Ryan Getzlaf intercepted that allowed Smith-Pelly to score again. Matt Greene missed the puck on a clear attempt, which led to Silfverberg's goal.
"Turnovers, you just can't have them," Kings captain Dustin Brown said. "When you give up quick goals like that, it's a momentum killer and a double whammy. They get it and we lose it. When we're playing our game, we don't have those turnovers."
Los Angeles, without injured defensemen Robyn Regehr and Willie Mitchell, has allowed four power-play goals in three games. The four goals allowed Monday were the most since Game 3 of the first round series against the San Jose Sharks.
The game was tied 1-1 at first intermission after an entertaining period that more resembled the looser, chance-for-chance play of Game 1.
Trevor Lewis scored his third goal of the playoffs on a wrist shot that went off Ducks defenseman Bryan Allen at 9:12 of the first. Anaheim looked confused on a line change, and Lewis grabbed a loose puck in the neutral zone and skated down right wing.
Anaheim got the start it wanted, at least in the first five minutes, and capitalized when Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin lost the puck falling down in the corner. Daniel Winnik took it and set up Bonino from the right side at 2:15 of the first.
"Muzzin falls in the Zamboni corner and that's just bad luck, that goal," Sutter said. "I think, similar to last game probably, the second and third goal were close together. One was a power-play goal, and then the turnover to Ryan Getzlaf. A player can't make that play, that's for sure."
The Ducks had 12 shots on goal in the first period, nearly as many as their total of 14 from Game 4. The Kings had 14, or half of their 28 from Game 4 on Saturday.