The second-seeded Anaheim Ducks will try to close out their Western Conference quarterfinal series on Friday, as they visit the Detroit Red Wings for Game 6 at Joe Louis Arena.
The Ducks and Red Wings have alternated wins and losses since Anaheim claimed the opener and three of the five games have been decided in overtime. Detroit won the first two OT decisions in Games 2 and 4, but Anaheim used a Nick Bonino goal early in the extra session to take Game 5 in Orange County by a 3-2 score.
Bonino buried the game winner 1:54 into overtime, giving the Pacific Division champions a 3-2 edge in this best-of-seven series.
Ben Lovejoy set up Bonino's deciding goal, as the Anaheim blueliner carried the puck below the Detroit goal line and worked around a defenseman before sliding a backhand pass through the crease to the low left side, where Bonino pounded in a one-timer.
"He's a heck of a competitor," Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said of Bonino. "I'm happy it was our turn tonight to win in overtime. Nick was in the right spot at the right time."
Ryan Getzlaf and Kyle Palmieri each scored once in regulation, while Jonas Hiller posted 29 saves for the Ducks, who will try to complete their first series win since taking out San Jose in the opening round of the 2009 postseason.
"This is huge. You dream about it as a kid," said Bonino, who recorded his third goal of the series. "Hiller was awesome and the guys responded well all night."
Mikael Samuelsson and Johan Franzen registered a goal apiece in the setback, with Jimmy Howard stopping 31-of-34 shots for Detroit, which is trying to avoid losing in the first round for the second straight spring. The Red Wings were eliminated from the conference quarterfinals last season in five games by Nashville.
"We hit three posts tonight and they didn't go in," Detroit coach Mike Babcock lamented. "That's life."
Detroit hopes the return of forward Justin Abdelkader can help it stave off elimination tonight. Abdelkader served the final part of his two-game suspension on Wednesday after delivering a high hit on Ducks defenseman Toni Lydman in Game 3. Lydman has missed the last two games with a head injury and is out indefinitely.
If the Red Wings win tonight, the clubs will head back to Anaheim for a decisive Game 7 battle on Sunday.
Detroit was 13-7-4 at Joe Louis Arena in the regular season, while the Ducks were 14-5-5 on the road.
This is the sixth playoff meeting between the Red Wings and Ducks, who met five times in the postseason from 1997-2009. Detroit has won three of the five series and beat Anaheim in seven games when the clubs last met in the 2009 conference semifinals.