The game wasn't pretty between the Ducks and Red Wings, but it sure ended beautifully!
Game 5 required overtime to decide, but unlike the first two overtime matches, this time Anaheim came out the victor. A mere 1:54 into the extra period, Nick Bonino put the puck behind Jimmy Howard to give the Ducks the 3-2 win and the 3-2 lead in the series.
Defenseman Ben Lovejoy did most of the work, skating with the puck behind the net before passing it to Bonino, who took advantage of the wide open net.
And the crowd, another standing room only affair at the Honda Center, went wild. As did Bonino and the rest of his teammates.
"Game 5 is a big swing game when it’s a 2-2 series and we’d like to finish it in six," said Bonino, a former Boston University standout. "We couldn’t do that without tonight. We’re going to enjoy this and start focusing on two days from now.”
The game went back and forth from the beginning. Anaheim took two goalie interference penalties early on and Johan Franzen put the Red Wings on the board at 5:28 with a power play goal. Not the start Anaheim wanted.
Then the Ducks came back strong, controlling most of the rest of the period. Kyle Palmieri tied up the game at 17:41 with a seeing eye shot through the crowd. Once more, the fourth line produced.
In the second period the Ducks decided to live dangerously with plenty of turnovers to give Detroit their chances. Mikael Samuelsson capitalized on the Ducks poor play at 10:08 to give the Red Wings back the lead.
When Daniel Winnik was given a five minute major for boarding Dan Cleary, Ducks fans had to be concerned that all could be lost. Winnik, unlike Justin Abdelkader two games prior, did not leave his feet and did not make contact with Cleary's head. (Cleary did return in the third period.)
Instead of breaking the game wide open, Jonas Hiller did his job in net and kept the Ducks in it. With just under :32 seconds left in the middle frame, captain, oh captain, Ryan Getzlaf tied up the game with a power play goal.
Once again all things were even going into the final 20 minutes. Neither team was unable to budge the scoreboard, so overtime had to be used for the third time in the series, the most of any other playoff series.
Ducks fans did not have to be held in suspense for long before Bonino ended the game in jubilation.
“He’s a great opportunist," said Bonino's coach, Bruce Boudreau. "He comes up with big goals. He’s just that kind of guy. He’s a heck of a player for us right now and a heck of a competitor. He’s come to the floor at important times during these first five games.”
Everything now shifts back to Detroit for game six, when Abdelkader will return from his two game suspension. For the Red Wings, it is must win. For the Ducks, it is must win as well, because you don't want to give Detroit any hope whatsoever that they can come back to Anaheim to win a game seven.
“Tonight was a pretty even hockey game," said Getzlaf. "It went both ways at different times. Goaltenders made big saves at both ends. We got the first period that we wanted and that was important.”
I can hardly wait until Friday to see what happens next!