DALLAS - After a physical Game 5 win over the Dallas Stars, the Ducks flew to Texas and spent the day off the ice preparing for Game 6 tomorrow night at American Airlines Center.
The two teams continued their physical play last night, with Anaheim throwing 40 hits and continually finishing checks from the opening puck drop to the final horn. It’s a style the Ducks want to play, and they know they can find success when they execute.
“We were physical, we put the pucks in deep and we finished our checks on the forecheck,” Corey Perry said. “When we didn’t do that, the puck was in our zone. It’s not rocket science – when we play that way, we’re going to be successful.”
Added Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf, “We played our brand of hockey. We played well within our system and did the things we wanted to do.”
Perry acknowledged towing the fine line between physical play and undisciplined penalties played an instrumental role in the win.
“There’s a fine line you don’t want to cross,” he said. “Sometimes, you get caught up in the moment and you cross it. Other times, you walk it and help propel your team to better things.”
You can’t blame the Ducks for feeling a sense of déjà vu. They enter tomorrow night’s game with the opportunity to close out the opponent and move into the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the exact same scenario the team experienced last season against the Detroit Red Wings.
That series ended with an overtime loss in Game 6 and heartbreaking loss on home ice that eliminated Anaheim from the playoffs. The team understands the importance of ending the series tomorrow night.
“The hardest game to win is the fourth one,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “That experience, with most of the guys that were here last year, I hope works for tomorrow. We don’t want to wait for a seventh game if we can help it.”
With that being said, the Ducks know the Stars won’t go down without a fight.
“Teams don’t play their best hockey until their backs are against the wall and they can be out,” center Nick Bonino said. “We expect nothing less from Dallas than their best game and we’re going to need ours to win it.”
PUTTING THE 'POWER' IN POWER PLAY
After scoring twice with the man advantage in Game 1, the Ducks went 0-for-11 on the power play in Games 2, 3 and 4. The unit, which has run hot and cold for most of the season, wanted to get going to stem the Stars’ propensity for post-whistle scrums.
The Ducks did just that in Game 5, going a perfect 4-for-4 with the man advantage. It was the first time the Ducks recorded three or more power-play goals since January 21, when the team scored six in a rout of the Vancouver Canucks.
It was the perfect response for the style Dallas has played throughout the series. “Our powerplay hasn’t clicked all year,” Perry said, “but it found a way to propel us into the next game. Those are the ways you get back at the other team. You get on the power play and you make them pay that way. That’s the way we want to play.”
It was a relief for Bonino, one of the main cogs on the power-play unit. “We’ve been working it well for a month now,” he said. “Games like that, when it all goes in, it feels good.”