DALLAS: The Anaheim Ducks advanced to the second round of the National Hockey League play-offs for the first time in five years, using a furious third period rally to beat Dallas 5-4 in extra time.
Nick Bonino scored the game winner 2:47 into overtime after the Ducks equalised by scoring twice late in the third period to eliminate the Dallas Stars and win their best-of-seven series 4-2.
“We stuck with it and we found a way to do it,” said Ducks defenseman Bryan Allen.
Bonino also scored one of Anaheim’s two goals late in the third period to level Sunday’s contest. The Stars appeared to be cruising to a victory with just over two minutes left when the Ducks’ offence struck, scoring twice in the final 2:10 of regulation.
Bonino scooted out from behind the net and rifled a shot from in close over the shoulder of Stars’ netminder Kari Lehtonen to make it 4-3.
Devante Smith-Pelly scored from a mad scramble in front of Finland’s Lehtonen to force the extra session with just 24 seconds remaining.
In extra time, Bonino moved into the slot and hammered a shot past Lehtonen after taking a pass from Andrew Cogliano.
Allen said they are relieved to be through to the second round.
“It is an emotional thing,” Allen said. “It doesn’t matter who you are playing. There is so much parity in the league that no matter who you play, you are going to get all you can handle.”
Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller stopped all 12 shots he faced in relief of rookie Frederik Andersen, who was pulled for the second time in this series after allowing four goals on just 12 shots.
Trevor Daley had two goals for Dallas who were making their first play-off appearance since 2008.
Anaheim, the Western Conference’s top seed, is hoping to avoid a repeat of last year’s post-season, when they failed to live up to expectations.
Anaheim lost in the opening round of the play-offs in seven games to the Detroit Red Wings. The Red Wings beat the Ducks in Detroit in game six then won in Anaheim in game seven.
The Ducks’ win over Dallas broke a string of five home ice victories in the series. Anaheim won games one, two, five and six to take the series.
In 2009, the Ducks beat San Jose in the first round before losing to Detroit in seven games.