The Bruins gain an edge while the Ducks ride a rookie goaltender to even up their series. Notes on Carl Soderberg, Loui Eriksson, P.K. Subban, Ryan Getzlaf, John Gibson and more.
BRUINS BACK IN CONTROL
The Boston Bruins leaned on their supporting cast in Game Five, and it paid off, with a 4-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens, giving the Bruins a 3-2 lead in the series.
Carl Soderberg paced the Bruins, with a goal and two assists and while that was Soderberg's first goal of the postseason (to go with five assists), he's been a possession stalwart for the Bruins, on for 59.9 of the 5-on-5 shot attempts in the playoffs. Right there with Soderberg has been Loui Eriksson, who had a goal and an assist in Game Five, and has been rocking a 60% Corsi percentage in the postseason. 5-on-5 shot attempts. D Johnny Boychuk was tops on the Bruins, at 75.0%.
While we're covering Bruins players that were acquired from Dallas as part of the Tyler Seguin deal, might as well point out that Reilly Smith scored a goal and leads the NHL with a 61.9% Corsi percentage in the playoffs, and recent call-up Matt Fraser -- the OT hero of Game Four -- picked up an assist on Eriksson's goal. There may be long-term regrets over what Seguin may accomplish in Dallas but, on this night, the Bruins reaped some nice rewards from the pieces they received in that trade.
Smith was part of the Bruins' most dominant line of the night, with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, all three on for at least 71.4% of the
Interesting to note that, while RW Jarome Iginla scored a power play goal, the Bruins' number one line continues to struggle. Iginla, Milan Lucic and David Krejci were the bottom three on the Bruins' possession chart in Game Five.
That happens to the best of them, though, because P.K. Subban was at the bottom of Montreal's, on for 10 5-on-5 shot attempts for and 21 against (32.3%). Even so, Subban had a total of 14 shot attempts during the game (six on net, two missed, six blocked) and did score a power play goal late in the third period.
Of course, the sideshow story that stands out from the game is that Subban, skating in front of the Bruins' bench to retrieve the puck, was squirted with water by Bruins RW Shawn Thornton. For a guy that didn't hesitate to complain about Subban ducking his attempted late hit earlier in the series, that's mighty irresponsible. Subban was fine, but players on the ice -- especially in live action -- shouldn't have to deal with interference in any manner coming from the bench.
One Canadiens player that might want a do-over on Game Five is C Tomas Plekanec. His possession stats (37.5%) were among the worst on the club and he took three minor penalties, that last two of which resulted in power play goals for the Bruins.
While the possession numbers were close throughout the game and shot totals ended up favouring Montreal 31-30, the Bruins really had the game under control. Once they opened up a 3-0 lead 1:36 into the second period, the Canadiens were left to chase. Now, that puts Montreal in a must-win situation at home in Game Six. They certainly could; they've played well enough to do it, but the Habs have also let the Bruins off the hook and are facing elimination because of it.
The Anaheim Ducks scored two goals in a 2:43 span late in the first period and made it stand up for the final 41:15, defeating the Los Angeles Kings 2-0, tie even the series at two games apiece.
Anaheim's big guns, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry each had two points, with Perry assisting on both goals, and Getzlaf scoring the second. With Matt Beleskey injured in Game Three, Devante Smith-Pelly joined the line and scored the game's first goal. Getzlaf now has 13 points, two behind the playoff leader, the Kings' Anze Kopitar.
Ducks G Frederik Andersen left Game Three with a lower-body injury, which prompted the Ducks to start rookie John Gibson in Game Four and Gibson responded with a 28-save shutout. 20-year-old Gibson has the pedigree to be a top-tier goaltender. In 51 (regular season plus playoff) games in the AHL this year, he has a .924 save percentage, and stopped 79 of 83 shots (.954 SV%) in three games with the Ducks in the regular season.
Gibson didn't have it easy, as the Ducks went into a shell after the first period and were outshot 19-3 the rest of the way, registering zero shots on goal in the second period. This led to some ridiculous possession stats. For the Kings, C Jarret Stoll was on the ice for Jakob Silfverberg, Saku Koivu and Andrew Cogliano -- were on for fewer than 20% of the shot attempts. The Kings also pulled G Jonathan Quick after the first period, turning to rookie Martin Jones.
The home team has yet to win in this series and the Ducks have thrown a wildcard into the proceedings. If Gibson continues to run hot, that could be enough to tilt the balance. Of course, evening out the possession game would ease some of the pressure on Gibson and that's still possible -- the Ducks were keeping pace with the Kings in that regard through the first three games. From the Kings' perspective, they now have to figure out how they are going to get Gibson off his game and start burying the chances that they get. In any case, there's lots left to be decided here.
Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.