This has been a strange series, to say the least. On Friday, April 25, 2014 the oddities continued. The Anaheim Ducks and Dallas Stars have taken turns being intermittently dominating, while going through some strange lapses in intensity. Anaheim had built a 4-0 lead in Game 1, but then had to hang on to win 4-3. Anaheim won Game 2 3-2, and then went to Dallas and probably played their most solid game of the series; the result was a 3-0 loss. The Stars used that momentum to take Game 4, 4-2. Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf did not play in Game 4 due to an "upper body injury". The stage was set for this all-important Game 5.
It was questionable whether Getzlaf would play in this game, but when the puck dropped, he was indeed on the bench, ready to go. In fact, Getzlaf would turn out to be a real difference maker on this night, as he not only returned to the lineup, be returned with a vengeance. He would make his presence felt early and often. In the first period, with Game 4 villain Antoine Roussel in the penalty box for interfering with Ducks' goalie Frederik Andersen, Getzlaf fed the puck to Nick Bonino who made a nice move down low, and beat Dallas goalie Kari Lehtonen to give the home team a 1-0 lead at 5:32. It was the Ducks third shot on goal. Later on in the period, fireworks erupted. At the 9:11 mark, as he was going for a line change, Dallas forward Ryan Garbutt inexplicably viciously speared Anaheim forward Corey Perry. It was not a gentle act, and even worse, it appeared to be very much "south of the border". Perry was was down for several minutes, and Garbutt was given a 5:00 major penalty and ejected from the game. This was a prime opportunity Anaheim to take control of the game, but it did not begin well.
The first goal scored was a short-handed tally by Jamie Benn at . With the score now tied at 1-1, Anaheim forward Rickard Rakell scored his first goal of the playoffs (and his career, and as a member of the Ducks) just 26 secs later. Anaheim did not even get the full benefit of the manpower advantage due to Nick Bonino taking a penalty for tripping Jamie Benn with 2:08 secs left on the original penalty to Garbutt. The period ended with Anaheim leading 2-1. All goals were scored during special teams play. The trend continued in the second, when Mathieu Perreault scored a power play goal at 1:05. Dallas narrowed the lead when Shawn Horcoff scored the first even strength goal of the game at 8:19. The second period ended with Anaheim leading 3-2, and the cautiously optimistic sellout crowd of 17,344, hoping for the best. It was a tense atmosphere as the puck dropped for the third period. As it turned out, there was no need for any nervousness on the part of the Anaheim faithful.
The drama ended early. The Ducks got 3 goals within a span of less than six mins. Jakob Silfverberg scored at 1:07, Getzlaf scored at 4:30, and Perry scored on the power play at 6:49 to give the Ducks an insurmountable 6-2 lead. The 3 goals had been scored on only four total shots. Amazingly, Anaheim would not register another shot on goal in the game. The final score wound up at 6-2. For the game, Dallas outshot Anaheim 36-23, but to no avail. Getzlaf and Perry both registered a goal and two assists. Getzlaf was named #1 star of the game, Perry #2, and Mathieu Perreault (1g,1a), #3. The four power play goals scored in one game set a franchise playoff record for the Ducks.
Game 6 will be played in Dallas on Sunday night, with the Stars facing elimination. It would appear that Anaheim now has the momentum, but in this series, one never knows. There very well could be a Game 7 in Anaheim on Tuesday night.