Ducks push Kings to brink of elimination with Game 5 win
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Devante Smith-Pelly scored two goals 1:23 apart in the second period, and the Anaheim Ducks moved to the brink of the Western Conference finals with a 4-3 victory over the Los Angeles Kings in Game 5 on Monday night.
John Gibson made 39 saves in his second career playoff start as the Ducks took a 3-2 lead in the second-round series with their third straight victory.
Nick Bonino and Jakob Silfverberg also scored for the Ducks, who jumped to a three-goal lead in the second period and hung on behind their 20-year-old rookie goalie, earning the first home victory by either team in the series.
Marian Gaborik scored two goals for the Kings, who will face their fifth elimination game of the post-season.
Game 6 is Wednesday at Staples Center.
Gaborik scored his NHL-best seventh and eighth goals of the post-season, including a redirection with 5:48 left to trim Anaheim’s lead to one goal.
Los Angeles pressed throughout the final minutes with a playoff-high 42 shots, but couldn’t beat Gibson for the equalizer.
Trevor Lewis also scored and Jonathan Quick stopped 20 shots for the Kings, who are on their second three-game skid of the post-season — bookending a six-game winning streak
The road team had won every game in the first series between these rivals separated by 30 miles of freeway, but the Ducks snapped the Kings’ four-game road playoff winning streak dating to their 0-3 comeback in the first round against San Jose.
Smith-Pelly is the Ducks’ unlikely leader with five post-season goals after a superbly energetic effort in Game 5. The 21-year-old forward has three goals in the past two games, capitalizing on his promotion to Anaheim’s top line with captain Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry after scoring just two goals in his 19 regular-season appearances for the Ducks.
The Ducks got another standout game from Gibson, who shut out the Kings in Game 4 to even the series in his Anaheim playoff debut. His fifth career NHL appearance was tougher — but his teammates also helped out much more this time, scoring four regulation goals against the Kings for the first time in the rivals’ 10 total meetings this season.
The Ducks got off to an aggressive start for the third straight game. Moments after Alec Martinez pulled Teemu Selanne’s shot off the Los Angeles goal line, Bonino ended up alone in the slot and beat Quick with a wrist shot for his fourth goal of the post-season.
Gibson made a stellar early save on Tyler Toffoli, but gave up his first career post-season goal moments later. The Ducks left the puck unattended during a line change, and Justin Williams found Lewis for the grinding forward’s third goal of the post-season.
Anaheim reclaimed the lead 1:11 into the second period when Mathieu Perreault’s shot off a sublime cross-ice pass from Selanne glanced off Smith-Pelly’s toe in the crease.
Smith-Pelly then broke in alone on Quick 83 seconds later when Getzlaf intercepted Martinez’s pass in the neutral zone, and Silfverberg put the Ducks up 4-1 midway through the period.
The Kings gathered themselves and finally capitalized on a double-minor by Smith-Pelly when Gaborik scored in front, getting his fourth goal in the series’ three games in Anaheim.
After several minutes of fruitless work for the Kings, captain Dustin Brown shovelled a backhand at the net and Gaborik redirected it home.