Ducks head back to Dallas with chance to clinch series
Andrew Cogliano and the Anaheim Ducks are in the same position as a year ago.
Now they just need a different result to avoid another long offseason of disbelief.
The top-seeded Ducks return to Dallas for Game 6 against the Stars on Sunday night with a chance to advance past the opening round of the playoffs for only the second time since winning their lone Stanley Cup title seven years ago.
With the same 3-2 series lead and home-ice advantage last season, favored Anaheim failed to close out Detroit.
"We lost in overtime in Detroit last year," said Cogliano, recalling the Ducks’ letdown from last season and chance for some redemption only minutes after they won 6-2 in Game 5.
"This is what you look for though. This is why you play. You have an opportunity to win it, and you’ve got to do it."
Anaheim regained the edge in this series with a playoff franchise-record four power-play goals while holding the Stars without a goal on their seven chances with a man advantage. The Ducks’ dynamic scoring duo — Ryan Getzlaf, their captain who missed Game 4, and Corey Perry — both had a goal and two assists Friday night.
"It’s about maintaining our focus. When we got to Dallas last time, we got a little revved up and got into some things that weren’t part of our game," said Getzlaf, who surpassed Teemu Selanne as Anaheim’s career leader for postseason scoring. "We did a better job of focusing on what we need to do, and we need to do that next game."
The home team has won every game in this series, and the young Stars are going to have to fight back — and get physical again as they did to win Games 3 and 4 in their first postseason series since 2008.
Despite their most lopsided loss in 35 playoff games over the past 10 years, since losing 5-1 to Colorado in their final 2004 playoff game, the Stars felt good about coming home. They have another chance to even the series again, but also face their first elimination game.
"You liked the fact that there’s disappointment and some frustration," Dallas coach Lindy Ruff said after the team landed at home Saturday afternoon. "We’ve been a pretty focused group coming home and I anticipate that again. … When they’ve faced adversity (they) have answered the call. I’m positive that they’ll answer that call again."
While not being specific, Ruff said there would be changes on special teams units because "it’s not working."
The Stars have scored on only two of 22 power-play opportunities in this series, though their penalty kill had been good before Game 5 — the Ducks had been 2 of 16 before then.
Stars captain Jaime Benn has scored in each game, with four goals and an assist so far in his first postseason series. He believes his team will have the same approach as it did when coming home last week after losing the first two games.
"It’s the same situation, we have a chance to come back here and play a good hockey game and tie this series up in our own barn," Benn said.
The Stars have won seven of their past eight home games, the only loss in that stretch being the makeup game against Columbus the final week of the regular season. They started down 1-0 in the game that had been postponed after Rich Peverley collapsed on the bench because of an irregular heartbeat.
After winning the Stanley Cup in 2007, the Ducks returned to the playoffs a year later and lost in the opening round in six games to Dallas, which went on to the conference finals before missing the playoffs five consecutive seasons.
Anaheim beat San Jose in the first round in 2009, but hasn’t won another postseason series. The Ducks lost to Detroit in 2009, Nashville in 2011 and again to the Red Wings last year when, similar to this year, they were expected to make a long postseason run.
"We’ve got all the talent in the world on this team, but you’ve got to take it to a different level in the playoffs," center Nick Bonino said. "We know that, and now we have to show it. Now that we’ve got a chance to clinch, we want to do it."