It took a while, but the home team has finally won a game in the L.A.-Anaheim series.
After the road team emerged the victor in the first four, the Ducks finally held serve on home ice for Monday’s Game 5, beating the Kings 4-3 at the Honda Center to take a 3-2 series lead.
Devante Smith-Pelly scored twice for the Ducks and Jakob Silfverberg netted the eventual game-winner midway through the second period, while rookie goalie John Gibson continued to impress by stopping 39 of 42 shots faced, remaining undefeated in his brief Stanley Cup playoff career.
For the Kings, the red-hot Marin Gaborik continued to play well, scoring his NHL-leading seventh and eighth goals of the playoffs.
Gaborik’s efforts weren’t enough to keep the L.A. from losing its third straight, though, and that streak has coincided with a rough stretch that’s seen Jonathan Quick allow nine goals on 57 shots… after allowing just three on his first 62 faced in this series.
What’s more, tonight’s loss might end up being a pivotal shift for both clubs.
This series marked the 22nd time in Stanley Cup playoff history that a road team won the first four games, and the 16th time it’s happened since 1994. In the previous 21 series, the winner of Game 5 went on to win 18 times (.857 win%). The only three teams that lost Game 5, but later won the series, were the 1980 North Stars (vs. Montreal), 1995 Sharks (vs. Calgary) and 2001 Penguins (vs. Buffalo).
So, the Kings now have their work out out for them.
In addition to their current three-game losing streak, the Kings have yet to win at Staples since Game 6 of the San Jose series and are just 2-3 at home over the course of these playoffs. L.A. also has to figure out the riddle that is Gibson, who has stopped 67 of 70 shots since taking over the Ducks goal.