Despite falling victims to a relatively consistent two-goal deficit, the Anaheim Ducks still managed yet another comeback win, this time in dramatic overtime fashion. So who's to blame for the shortcomings, and who deserves that extra celebratory drink? Let's find out.
-5: 1st Period Effort (Last Game: NR): Anaheim tried very closely to escape the first period down by just one goal, however couldn't hold on and ended up down a score of 3-1 after the first twenty minutes of play. Apparently the Ducks forgot how to control the puck and allowed eight defensive-zone turnovers in the opening frame. Let's just say the team looked so terrible I was getting texts after the first saying "we need a miracle." [Ed. Note- That may or may not have been me. - Kyle]
-4 Frederik Andersen (Last Game: +3): Even with a pretty impressive bounce back contest in game five at Honda Center, Andersen just couldn't seem to hold onto rebounds tonight. There are rumors that he woke up sick this morning, however after allowing four goals on just 12 shots, I was truly relieved to see Hiller gearing up. Andersen's inability to control rebounds led to several of Dallas's goals, as well as multiple other huge scoring chances for the Dallas Stars.
-3 Discipline (Last Game: -4): When there are four penalties in 11 minutes, and two of them are within 3 minutes of each other, it really starts to look like a parade of players into the penalty box. Anaheim was struggling to stay out of the penalty box, especially Fistric who, after avoiding a potential boarding penalty, took a very soft elbowing minor just seconds later. All in all, Anaheim took some pretty inopportune penalties in the closing game of this series.
-2 Francois Beauchemin/Luca Sbisa Defensive Pairing (Last Game: NR): Starting at the very first puckdrop, this defensive duo just looked to be a liability. Sbisa started the game by giving the Stars a bit too much space in the middle of the ice, which led to a pretty strong scoring chance, only nullified by Andersen, however that early rush set the tone for the opening period. Later on, it was this defensive pairing that lost track of the penalty timer, and gave Daley a breakaway out of the penalty box, leading to Dallas's early one-goal lead. Again, on Trevor Daley's second goal, Sbisa was simply out-skated, while Beauchemin appeared to just give up on the play. All in all, truly disappointing performance for these two.
-1 Saku Koivu (Last Game: NR): Sometimes there are nights where players just seem to hesitate, or hiccup when they are given the spotlight. For me, Koivu had (yet another) one of those nights. Despite having a better faceoff win percentage than previous nights (68.4%), he still struggled to make a positive impact on the game. When you rely on someone to really shutdown the opponent's biggest offensive threat, as well as be a staple on the penalty kill, maybe you do set them up to fail on some level. However, the only reason we expect Koivu to play at a certain level is because he has proven that he can, and now he seems to be falling short on a regular basis, so he has earned my slightly subpar -1 spot.
Even 0 Penalty Kill (Last Game: NR): As conflicted as this may seem, allow me to explain why the penalty kill, which held Dallas to just one powerplay goal on five chances, is only breaking even on this ranking. In short, the time that Anaheim spent shorthanded was ugly. On one of the penalty kills that Anaheim was faced with, I counted at least four failed attempts to clear the puck out of the defensive zone. The penalty killers were not successfully in the passing or shooting lanes, and thus, the sloppiness of the PK, however effective, still needs to be cleaned up for the next round.
+1 Rickard Rakell (Last Game: +2): At 20 years old, Rakell seems to have settled into the pace of playoff hockey very quickly, with game six marking just his third career post-season contest. After becoming the first player in franchise history to score his first NHL goal in the playoffs, Rakell followed up with another one-point game, this time assisting on Anaheim's opening goal. The young centerman also won eight out of 13 faceoffs and was credited with two takeaways. Great night for the youngster who seems to be meshing well with this Anaheim offense.
+2 Jonas Hiller (Last Game: DNP): When a goalie, who was a longtime starter, is benched for even a single playoff game, most people wonder why. Tonight, Jonas HIller proved that he's managed to shake off whatever was holding his performance back in his previous starts, and with that he showed that he's ready to take on the post-season and contribute in a big way. After Andersen allowed four goals on just 12 Dallas shots, Hiller was given the nod and calmly took control of the crease. Hiller had better rebound control than anyone anticipated, and shut Dallas down, stopping all 12 shots that came his way, and truly became the reason that Anaheim had a chance to win, and close out the series.
+3 Teemu Selanne (Last Game: NR): After being benched for game four, it's really nice seeing a veteran player, like Selanne, finding ways to step up and impact the game in positive ways. Teemu had two beautiful passes that sparked plays with the puck finding the back of the net both times, first off the stick of Smith-Pelly, and the second off Ben Lovejoy's stick. Selanne clearly spent some time in the offensive zone and led the team with five shots against Dallas netminder, Kari Lehtonen. Great game for Anaheim's true veteran #8.
+4 Devante Smith-Pelly (Last Game: NR): When there is less than a minute remaining in regulation, most people don't think patience would be a huge virtue, however jump to the 1:00 mark of this video to check out how patience led to the tying goal. Yet that was not Smith-Pelly's only tally of the night, he also opened the scoring in the first period off a fantastic feel from Selanne. Smith-Pelly, who normally brings more of a physical aspect to the game, found a new level of offensive prowess, earning him more ice time, including the last minute of regulation despite being down a goal. His pair of goals, with obviously more weight on the game-tying-goal, has earned Devante my +4 rating.
+5 Nick Bonino (Last Game: NR): With resident faceoff-guru Mathieu Perreault out of the lineup, someone had to step up and Bonino did that in so many ways. The 26-year-old center man was entrusted to take the faceoff on 35 occasions, and won 15 of them, despite many of the draws being against the top line for Dallas. Let's also add in that Bonino scored not one, but two beautiful goals, including the game-winning-goal in overtime, and was tied for the team lead with a +3 rating. Bonino was credited with the most hits on the team with six, and was given shifts on both the powerplay and penalty kill. What a fantastic night for this youngster who proves again that Anaheim's biggest threat is often in the underrated talent.
Honorary +6: This GIF:
Throughout the series Dallas has found the perfect way to frustrate the Ducks. Dallas managed to combine their talented offense, remarkably speedy defense, and pretty threatening building into an overall brutal matchup for Anaheim.
Considering how the Stars were able to shutdown the traditional Anaheim scoring threats, keeping players like Perry and Getzlaf off the score sheet, the secondary scoring needed to click in, and boy did it. Bonino and Smith-Pelly each pot two goals on three shots, carrying their team to a dramatic overtime victory closing out the first round series at six games played.