It ended with a team scrum at the side boards. The Ducks practically needed to hold each other up because of exhaustion and exhilaration.
The hero? Corey Perry, who took a pass from longtime linemate Ryan Getzlaf and slipped the puck past Edmonton Oilers goalie Cam Talbot 6:57 into the second overtime Friday night to give the Ducks a 4-3 win in Game 5 of their second-round playoff series.
Perry scored on the Ducks' 64th shot and Anaheim pulled off an incredible rally to take a 3-2 series lead with Game 6 on Sunday in Edmonton.
Faced with a three-goal deficit with fewer than four minutes remaining in regulation, the Ducks got extra-attacker goals from Ryan Getzlaf, Cam Fowler and Rickard Rakell, who tied the score, 3-3, with 15 seconds left.
Getzlaf scored on a slap shot with 3:16 to go. Fowler's wrist shot made it through with 2:41 left. Rakell, on his 24th birthday, backhanded a loose puck through a scrum of players. The play was challenged for goalie interference but held up on review.
The Ducks became the second team to erase a three-goal deficit in the final four minutes of regulation to force overtime in a playoff game, according to the NHL. The Oilers did it in 1997.
Until then, the Ducks were left for dead.
They fell into a 3-0 hole when they allowed a four-on-one in transition triggered because Connor McDavid won a puck battle at the side boards against Getzlaf, who took over the series with his beast-mode play in Games 3 and 4.
Perry appeared to get high-sticked prior to the goal, but his complaints came as the Oilers were celebrating Drake Caggiula's one-timer off McDavid's pass.
Edmonton converted a two-man advantage following Nick Ritchie's offensive-zone boarding penalty — a dangerous-looking hit on Kris Russell — and Fowler's hooking penalty on McDavid. The Oilers captain batted in Ryan Nugent-Hopkins' short-lofted pass at 2:55 of the second period.
Leon Draisaitl's eighth goal in 10 games against the Ducks this season came 15 seconds into the second period. His shot from the right side was stopped by goalie John Gibson, but Gibson's leg nudged it into the net.
Talbot got the Oilers through a scoreless first period with 13 saves, including two stops on Getzlaf, who also missed high on a penalty shot awarded when Milan Lucic held him on a breakaway.
Edmonton was also fortunate to get out of the opening period after defensemen Andrej Sekera, Matt Benning and Oscar Klefbom left at various points with injuries.
The Ducks were without injured forwards Patrick Eaves and Ondrej Kase, and Nic Kerdiles was recalled for his first NHL playoff game.
Kerdiles, an Irvine product and the first player born or raised from Orange County to play for the Ducks, played only one NHL game, on Feb.22, prior to Friday.
He was with the Ducks as a spare forward in Edmonton earlier in the week and said got a feel for playoff intensity, although Carlyle said before the game: "He's going to experience baptismal by fire."
Kerdiles flew from Edmonton to San Diego for minor league playoff games and then bused to San Jose in preparation for an impending series there before he flew back to Anaheim the next morning.
"I'm not complaining," Kerdiles said. "It's pretty cool to be around here."