Yet another thrilling night of Southern California Hockey in the books, and somehow the Ducks managed yet another W, giving them an impressive three-game winning streak. Game 5 marked the first game in the LA vs. Anaheim series in which the home team won the contest. Thankfully, it was Anaheim's turn to host, and the showdown did not disappoint. Considering it is another win, there were several more positives than negatives, so this list will be slightly shorter than previous lists.
-3 Last Half of Each Period (Last Rating: NR): Anaheim came out at the opening of each period with a strong fighting spirit and a clear hunger for the victory. However by the second half of each of the periods, that desire seemed to fade a bit, and the Kings took control. The Los Angeles squad scored at least once each period after the nine minute mark passed. Thankfully, the surge that the Kings were able to muster up did not tally enough goals to take the win.
-2 Collective Offensive Prowess (Last Rating: NR): The Ducks were out shot by LA 42-24 by the final horn. Between being severely lacking in the shots on goal, the Ducks also seriously struggled with puck handling throughout the game, especially in the first period or so, leading to far too many defensive-zone turnovers and King chances. All around, the Ducks did not control the pace and the play of the game how they should have, yet still managed to pull out another important W.
-1 Bryan Allen (Last Rating: NR): When the first goal scored by the opponent deflected off Bryan Allen, I wish I could say I was surprised. Allen seemed to be a step behind everyone else on the ice. Anaheim's number 55 had several failed passing attempts, and a couple giveaways, and had some very bad plays that lead to turnovers and scoring chances for the Kings. Yet again, Allen falls in the negatives, simply because he seemed to be the one faltering at the worst possible times. [Ed. Note: At least they got him off the ice for the final 30 seconds or so. -CK]
Even Sami Vatanen (Last Rating: +3): Vatanen had an all around decent night, some good play making and puck handling, however there was one large mistake. Gaborik got away. Arguably the most lethal player in a Kings sweater, Marian Gaborik, has five goals in this playoff series alone, including two in Game 5. One of his goals was because of a misplay by Sami Vatanen, so even though he had decent possession and ranked second on the team in ice time, his big slip-ups with Gaborik earns him a breaking even spot.
+1 Patrick Maroon (Last Rating: NR): Patrick Maroon didn't have the most influential night when it comes to the score sheet, with zero points, two hits, one shot on goal, and one takeaway, however that does not properly reflect his play in Game 5. Maroon made some strong defensive plays, and smart outlet passes that led to several breakaways, specifically by Teemu Selanne (who we will get to soon). Even with a seemingly quiet night, Anaheim's big number 62 made his presence known with more physical and smart defensive play when it was most necessary.
+2 John Gibson (Last Rating: +1 Billion): After the fantastic shutout win that jump started Gibson's Stanley Cup playoff career, almost anything (except a repeat) could have seen like a step down. Regardless, the rookie netminder was still absolutely fantastic between the pipes in Game 5, and did what every goalie sets out to do: he gave the Ducks a solid chance to win. Even when the Kings were given second or third chances with rebounds or blocked shots, Gibson stood strong and faced every shot like a veteran. What a great performance by young Gibby.
+3 Ryan Getzlaf (Last Rating: +5): Anaheim's captain had a really awesome night, including three blocked shots, an assist, one takeaway and three shots on Jonathan Quick. However, the one biggest flaw with Getzlaf's game was his performance in the faceoff circle which was a disappointing 22%, just four wins out of 18 draws taken. Getzlaf was a true physical presence on the ice and led all of the Ducks forwards in ice time, understandably so, considering his line mate, Devante Smith-Pelly was on fire tonight.
+4 Teemu Selanne (Last Rating: NR): Finally! I get to praise the player I have been wanting to write about for weeks! Teemu Selanne, you proved why you are still playing hockey with your performance in Game 5. Hot damn, the Finnish Flash was everything we have been wanting (and somewhat expecting) him to be. Between several fantastic breakaway options and some impressive backchecking, Teemu had a wholly amazing night on the ice.
+5 Devante Smith-Pelly (Last Rating: +4): With two goals in Anaheim's fifth faceoff with the freeway rival, Devante Smith-Pelly truly earned his top spot. Even with the team leading eight penalty minutes, two of them were coincidental minors which were at least slightly questionable, and the last was an unfortunate double minor when DSP's high-stick drew a few drops of blood on Doughty. Smith-Pelly, who I've begun calling Anaheim's resident wrecking ball, had an impressive seven hits to accompany his two goals, all in just over 15 minutes of time on the ice. That's demanding some respect and taking every second and making the most of it.
Game 5 wasn't necessarily the prettiest or most strategic win, however a win is a win is a win. No matter how you cut it, the outcome is what counts, and Anaheim pulled out another win, and for the first time in the second round of the playoffs, Anaheim officially leads and have forced the Kings to the edge of elimination.