Game 5; ANA leads series 3-2
ANAHEIM - Through the first four games of this series, the road team has won every game. If the Los Angeles Kings were hoping to regain the series lead, they would have to keep that trend going. In addition, however, they would need to get off to a much better than they did in Games 3 and 4.
While the Ducks did score first in Game 5, the Kings were able to tie it up before the first period was out. Trevor Lewis took advantage of a shoddy Anaheim line change before beating John Gibson for his third of the postseason. Justin Williams provided the assist. So, after 20 minutes, the Kings had some hope. But when the second started, said hope fizzled quickly.
Just 1:11 into the middle frame, Anaheim's Devante Smith-Pelly regained the lead for the home team on the power play. Then, just 1:23 later, Los Angeles defenseman Alec Martinez passed the puck right onto the tape of Ryan Getzlaf who then quickly fed a streaking Smith-Pelly who deked out Jonathan Quick for the score. The goals were Smith-Pelly's fourth and fifth of the playoffs and, as a result, the Ducks were suddenly rolling.
Then, at the 8:23 mark of the second, Jakob Silfverberg slid his second of the postseason past Quick to give Anaheim a 4-1 lead. Suddenly, the Kings were imploding and as hard as they were making life for themselves, the Ducks were simply that much better.
Without the services of Robyn Regehr and Willie Mitchell, Los Angeles's usually-vaunted lineup on the back end looked vulnerable, and it showed. While the Kings defense looked lethargic at best for most of the night, Anaheim's defense was doing everything they could to keep the puck from reaching the back of the net. With a number of key blocked shots, Anaheim's defense looked very much like that of the Kings. But the silver-and-black were able to get shots on net (42 in total) but very little was working. That was, however, until late in the second.
With Los Angeles on the power play, they were simply looking to cut their deficit in half heading into the intermission - and they did just that as Marian Gaborik notched his seventh with 1:18 remaining in the period. Gaborik did score again at 14:12 of the third to cut the Ducks lead to one but that was as close as they could get.
For the first time in this series, the home team has won a game. Unfortunately for the Los Angeles Kings, they weren't the ones who broke the trend. Instead, the Ducks were alert most of the night, taking advantage of key mistakes by their opponents while goaltender John Gibson made 39 saves en route to his second-career playoff win in as many chances.
Outshooting Anaheim 14-2 in the third, the silver-and-black certainly worked their tails off to close out the game. But if I said this before, I said it a thousand times: the Kings absolutey need a solid start above all else. Overall, a good, fluid 60 minutes is what the Kings need on Wednesday to force a Game 7 in this series.
Speaking of Wednesday, that's when Game 6 will be as the Kings and their fans simply do not want their season to end. But if they don't want such a thing, they will have to work wonders in order to beat an Anaheim Ducks team who has gotten hot at just the right time.