The Ducks have clawed their way out of a daunting series hole, and now it is time for them to take control.
After going down 0-2 in this best-of-seven series, the Ducks found a way to even it up with wins in Games 3 and 4 at Rogers Place in Edmonton. Now a pivotal Game 5 awaits, with the winner of this game putting the loser on the brink of elimination. Game time is set for 7:30 p.m. PT and will be televised on NBCSN. Those tuning in on the radio dial can hear the game on KSPN 710.
"We knew we had a big test ahead of us and a job to do, and I'm proud of our guys for going into a pretty tough place to play and coming out with a couple big wins to take our home ice back," said defenseman Cam Fowler. "We're only halfway there. These guys came in and played really well last time. We expect the same."
History has shown when teams are tied 2-2 in a best-of-seven Stanley Cup Playoffs series, the winner of Game 5 holds an all-time series record of 196-54 (78.7%), including a 3-0 mark in 2017. With that being said, the Ducks have been in this exact scenario over the past four years (tied 2-2) with disappointing results. It began in 2013 when they alternated wins with the Detroit Red Wings in the First Round entering Game 5 at Honda Center. Though they won that game to go up, 3-2, they lost Game 6 at Detroit and Game 7 in Anaheim. The following year they won Game 5 in their 2014 Second Round series vs. LA, but eventually lost in seven. They did it again in the 2015 Western Conference Final, but couldn't finish off the Chicago Blackhawks in Games 6 and 7. Last but not least, the Ducks climbed out of an 0-2 deficit to the Nashville Predators in the First Round last year, won the next three games, but failed to take care of business in Game 6 or Game 7. However, this is a new season with a new team and a new voice behind the bench, and a chance to re-write the script.
As it turns out, the road team is 4-0 in this series. When asked why that is, Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf offered the following. "You feel better in your building," he said. "You feel more comfortable. But if you look back in history, there is no rhyme or reason on whether you win or lose. It's about going out and playing and executing. The better team is going to win. It doesn't matter what building you're in. We have to take that mentality all the time."
Injured right wing Patrick Eaves and defenseman Kevin Bieksa remain day-to-day with lower-body injuries, while right wing Ondrej Kase underwent further evaluation yesterday after the team touched down in Orange County. Eaves missed his first game of the playoffs on Wednesday, while Bieksa hasn't played since Game 1. Kase took just four shifts for 2:03 TOI before he was forced to leave Game 4 with a lower-body injury after taking a cross-check from Oilers forward Milan Lucic.
"You have to play with the same desperation and the same mentality as you would on the road," said Fowler. "That is the main thing that sticks out to us. It's going to be a great challenge. It's tough to win two in a row against a team, and trying to do three in a row is even harder. We know they're going to come with their best."