Final Score: Ducks 2, Oilers 1
The first penalty of the game came up very quickly and marginally as Derek Roy got called for hooking Emerson Etem. And it only took four seconds for Francois Beauchemin to beat Ben Scrivens with a slap shot through the screen of Jakob Silfverberg less than a minute into the game. 1-0 Ducks.
Nate Thompson was the first to be sent off for the Ducks, only about two minutes later for slashing the stick. Jordan Eberle almost had an empty net to shoot at, but Ben Lovejoy got his body in the way. The next two golden opportunities were shorthanded for the Ducks. First Silfverberg intercepted a pass and went in on a breakaway but missed high. Then Silfverberg forced Scrivens to play the puck outside of his crease, created a turnover and got the puck to Devante Smith-Pelly in the middle, but he missed the net as well.
Edmonton was absolutely atrocious in their own zone for the first 10 minutes of the game or so. In the second half of the period they did a better job to move the puck into the Ducks' half of the ice and catch up in the shots on goal, even though most of them were from the outside and posed little threat to John Gibson.
With about four minutes left and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins draped all over his back, Ryan Getzlaf did his Scott Niedermayer impression, skating the puck out from behind the net, stickhandling through another Oiler before exiting the zone, skating it into the offensive zone himself and dishing it off for a shot by Patrick Maroon (via Cam Fowler). A very nice bit of skill, from the captain, but to no avail.
The last couple of minutes of the first were by far the best for Edmonton offensively. They had a few shots through screens and scrambles around the net. Edmonton finished with a 10-8 shot advantage, but couldn't beat Gibson before the period came to an end.
The second period opened with a goal just as quickly as the first, but this time it was Edmonton to capitalize. Roy won a race to a dump in, centered to Nail Yakupov who had Teddy Purcell wide open to the right of Gibson for a one timer. Horrible defensive zone coverage. Way too easy for Edmonton. No chance for Gibson. 1-1 Tie.
Immediately after the goal the Ducks had Scrivens down and out for a second, but couldn't hit the net. Much of the next five to seven minutes were played in the neutral zone. But Anaheim got another golden opportunity when Maroon got to the front of the net, and the rebound sat flat for Ryan Kesler to crank it home with Scrivens looking the other way, buuuut..... his stick was lifted at exactly the perfect time for the Oilers to avoid going back down by a goal.
Just about a minute later Getzlaf couldn't handle a strange outlet pass (?) from Hampus Lindholm and turned the puck right over to Benoit Puliot, but Gibson turned his shot into the corner. Not long after that Edmonton attacked with three abreast and Nugent-Hopkins wristed one off of the cross bar. The middle of the period continued with pressure, pressure and more pressure from the Oilers, as the Ducks had issues getting to pucks along the wall in their own end.
The Ducks settled things down for the last five minutes or so of the period, but still went into the second intermission tied at one and trailing in shots 16-15.
We actually made it through the first minute of the period this time without either team giving up a goal. Just before the five minute mark Kyle Palmieri jumped on a poorly timed rim around by RNH behind the Edmonton net, but couldn't finish off the wrap around attempt.
A few minutes later the Ducks won a battle along the boards. DSP had Kesler open in the slot but the puck trickled through his feet to Lindholm for a promising point shot that ended up going right into Scrivens' glove hand.
A tired Hampus Lindholm tried to ice the puck, but thanks to some serious hustle by Pat Maroon the paly continued, though the Oilers were able to clear the zone. Back in the Ducks' zone Fowler was chased down by Yakupov and Palmieri made a nice spin move to get away from his man and spring the Ducks with numbers back the other way. Fowler's shot from the top of the circle handcuffed Scrivens and Getzlaf poked it under the pad, off the skate of Justin Schultz and into the net with seven minutes left. 2-1 Ducks.
Going back for a puck in the neutral zone Thompson got his stick in the feet of Oscar Klefbom and took only the second Ducks penalty of the game, and third total, with just over five minutes remaining. Edmonton had some possession on the PP, but not much in the way of chances other than a rebound or two. The puck came to Thompson just as he exited the box and he tipped it forward to Cogliano to go in on a partial break away, but the backchecker did his job and didn't allow a shot off. The Ducks spent the next minute in the Oilers' zone and though the Oilers got the puck back they couldn't do much more than ice it.
Scrivens got to the bench with about 1:20 on the clock, but Edmonton couldn't do anything with the extra attacker until about half a minute remaining The Ducks fell asleep in the neutral zone with 17 seconds left and Yakupov went in with Ryan Hamilton. Ben Lovejoy stopped it from being a 2-on-0 break and forced Hamilton to the side of the net where he tried to bank it in off of the skates of Gibson, but Lovejoy recovered. Really great defense by Lovejoy to stick on the puck. After an Oilers timeout and a a defensive zone faceoff, the Ducks pinned the puck to the corner for the last seven seconds to hold on for the 2-1 win.
The Good: The first ten minutes of the game was just as dominant as you would expect from a team that has spent the entire season at the top of the Western Conference standings against one who has languished at the bottom all year... again. The Ducks were all over the sloppy defensive zone giveaways by the Oilers and it was looking like it would be a pretty easy night.
The Bad: But...... That didn't last. For most of the rest of the game Edmonton looked the quicker/fresher team. They also played last night, and didn't have to travel from Calgary, but really that shouldn't be an excuse. For long stretches, especially in the second period, the Ducks were second on the puck and it allowed Edmonton to play in the Ducks' end much more than was comfortable for me.
The Ugly: Corey Perry: Zero shots on goal. Ryan Kesler: Zero shots on goal. Emerson Etem: Zero shots on goal. That line was kept together for the majority of the game and though Kesler was denied shots on a couple of occasions, it just wasn't working. Two games with Getzlaf and Perry split up, is enough for me. and I think Corey Perry agrees.
3rd MVD: Jakob Silfverberg. When the Ducks were at their best to start the game, Silf was everywhere, causing all kinds of havoc in the Edmonton zone, but no reward tonight.
2nd MVD: Ryan Getzlaf. He was named the official first star of the game for his game winning goal, but this is all about that rush up ice from behind his own net in the first period. Sometimes you have to stop and appreciate the little things.
1st MVD: Kyle Palmieri. Technically, I don't think he should have gotten an assist on the game winner, since he passed to Getzlaf, then it went to Fowler before Getzy poked it in, but his play to start that rush was brilliant, so I guess it's deserved. He also was pretty good about jumping on the puck and getting it straight to the net throughout the game.
Next Game: Monday back home to the Detroit Red Wings 7pm PT.