ANAHEIM, Calif. — It was a night to remember for Southern California hockey fans as both the Kings and Ducks each captured 3-2 overtime victories on Wednesday and now own 3-2 series leads in their respective series.
The Kings got things rolling earlier in the night in St. Louis when Slava Voynov slid a shot just under the pads of Blues goalie Brian Elliott eight minutes into the extra session to give the Kings the 3-2 win.
Voynov scored his second game-winning goal of the series and became the first Kings defenseman to score an overtime playoff goal in 12 years.
The Kings looked like they were on their way to victory in regulation before Alex Pietrangelo tied the game with just 45 seconds left in the third period.
“I saw him release it,” said goalie Jonathan Quick. “Usually when you see it come off the stick you have a better chance of stopping it, but I just couldn’t seem to pick it up, so it was disappointing at the time.
“But we were able to bounce back and get one there in overtime, which was huge.”
While Voynov was the offensive hero, defenseman Drew Doughty was a workhouse on the blueline. Doughty played just over 33 of the 68 minutes in the game — More ice time than any player on either side.
The Kings had leads of 1-0 and 2-1 thanks to the scoring touch of Jeff Carter. After being held without a goal in the first three games of the series, Carter now has three goals in the last two games.
“We are a resilient group,” Carter said. “A lot of guys have been through a lot of different experiences over their careers and I think we all kind of draw off that.
The Kings now have a chance to put the series away on home ice when the two teams return to Staples Center on Friday night for Game 6.
“This series, it’s a tough series,” Kopitar said. “We all know the fourth one’s the toughest one. We were fortunate enough to get this one on their ice, now we’re going home to finish it off.”
In Anaheim, the Ducks capped off the perfect Southern California evening when Nick Bonino buried his third goal of the playoffs at the 1:54 mark of overtime.
“He’s an opportunist,” said coach Bruce Boudreau. “He comes up with big goals. He’s a heck of a player and a heck of a competitor. He knows how to win and he knows what it takes to win.”
Trailing 2-1 late in the second period, the Ducks found themselves having to kill off a five minute penalty to Daniel Winnik for boarding.
Enter captain Ryan Getlaf.
His relentless work on the penalty kill forced the Red Wings Brendan Smith into a holding penalty. Sixty seconds later, Getzlaf blasted home his third of the series, tying the game at two and changing the momentum in Anaheim’s favor.
“He’s a great leader, said Boudreau. “When he’s going he’s a tough man to stop. I thought he brought it tonight, and guys followed him. That’s what captains do.”
“It was a huge kill for our group,” Getzlaf said. “I was pretty excited. This is an exciting time of the year. I’m having fun. This is what we play for all season. “
After dropping the two previous games in this series, the Ducks now find themselves with a chance to close out the Red Wings Friday night in Detroit.