The Anaheim Ducks just stole the playoff series from the Dallas Stars in a thrilling 5-4 overtime win. After spending the entire night on the heels of the Stars with an almost completely consistent two-goal deficit on their backs, Anaheim tied the game at four with 24 seconds left in the third period, and recent AHL call-up Devante Smith-Pelly was the one to chip it home.
While Smith-Pelly has been in the Ducks organization since he was drafted by the team in 2010, he has yet to earn a permanent spot on Anaheim’s roster. He’s usually the first or second choice as a regular season call-up, but never the one who gets to stay as he played only 19 games with the Ducks during the most recent NHL season.
On Sunday night in Dallas, the left winger proved his roster weight in gold as he not only scored the tying goal in the dying seconds of the game, but also scored his first goal of the NHL playoffs to open scoring for Anaheim after the team went down early in the first 2-0.
The 21-year-old offensive hitter might not be looking to fully make his case as a NHL regular quite yet, but the play he brings to the Ducks’ game is certainly a little bit of what this offensively-charged team is missing.
In watching Smith-Pelly take the ice, the youngster not only has the ability to maneuver the puck through tough zones, be he is also not afraid to follow through on a hit — something Anaheim certainly needs more of as the Ducks make their case for league powerhouse status. Every season is a new beginning for each player, but a strong showing in the playoffs for Smith-Pelly, win or lose, certainly won’t hurt his case one bit.