The Ducks knew they could count on home-ice advantage, not necessarily their power-play prowess.
However, in a moment-of-truth Game 5 played before another standing-room-only crowd at Honda Center, they beat the Dallas Stars, 6-2, by setting a team playoff record with four power-play goals.
Top-seeded Anaheim took a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference first-round series, with Game 6 Sunday in Texas.
Ducks center and captain Ryan Getzlaf steadily gave the 17,334 in attendance reason to roar after missing Game 4 with an upper-body injury.
Getzlaf produced one of three Ducks goals in the first 6 minutes 49 seconds of the third period, creating bedlam after contributing two earlier assists.
The Ducks, who started 20-0-2 at home this season, have banked on the home ice for all three of their postseason wins. The team has drawn 15 consecutive sellouts and 31 in all this season.
“It was unbelievable, so much energy tonight,” Getzlaf said.
On top of that, the Ducks had a 3-1 lead 65 seconds into the second period on three power-play goals, as forward Patrick Maroon pushed a backward pass up ice that Getzlaf crossed to Mathieu Perreault for the third goal.
“We moved the puck around good and took it to the net,” said Getzlaf, who also helped the Ducks kill all seven penalties they committed, including two five-on-three situations. “It was incredible how the guys played the special-teams battle. I got better as the game went on, and got some rest at the end.”
While the Ducks did establish a franchise record for goals this season, their power-play production has been spotty.
From Dec. 11 to Jan. 3, they scored just once in 32 power plays over 10 games, then endured a two-for-47 slump from Feb. 28 to March 14. And they were two for 16 in their first four postseason games.
With that issue resolved Friday, the Ducks leaned heavily on rookie goalie Frederik Andersen in the second period. Andersen had been sent to the bench Wednesday in a 4-2 Game 4 loss in Dallas after blowing a 2-0 lead, giving up four goals in 18 shots.
But Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau said Friday morning he had faith the rookie who won 20 regular-season games would rebound.
Andersen beamed when asked about that vote of confidence.
“Of course, I liked that, not because you play for yourself, but because you want to play good for everyone in this locker room,” he said. “Nice to give that back to these guys. I was pretty calm, just had to get back to the foundation of the game.”
Dallas unleashed 19 shots on goal in the second period, to seven for the Ducks. Andersen let only one past him, Shawn Horcoff knocking one in from in front after bashing the goalie’s right knee.
The Ducks ended a hectic first period with a 2-1 lead thanks to power-play goals that followed transgressions by Dallas’ usual suspects.
First, Stars forward Antoine Roussel, who threw the infamous left hand at Getzlaf’s stitched-up chin in Game 3, was sent to the box for interference.
Getzlaf, who passed teammate Teemu Selanne for most career playoff points (66) in Ducks history, then assisted on forward Nick Bonino’s opening goal against Dallas goalie Kari Lehtonen 5:32 into the game.
Stars forward Ryan Garbutt enhanced his villain role by jabbing his stick to Ducks forward Corey Perry’s groin region. Perry took quite awhile to rise as Garbutt was ushered off the ice with a five-minute spearing penalty and a game-misconduct.
Perry returned minutes later, and in the third period scored the fourth power-play goal, beating Tim Thomas, who’d replaced Lehtonen.