Final Score: Ducks 5, Oilers 1
The game started with the Ducks showing a complete and utter lack of organization in the defensive zone. The Ducks were pinned in their own end for most of the first three minutes and were scrambling around, running into each other, turning pucks over, failing to clear. Benny Hill, Keystone Cops, call it what you will, it was bad.
Luckily that didn't matter because they were playing the Edmonton Oilers, who are simply awful. At the 3:43 mark of the period, Francois Beauchemin opened the scoring on the Ducks' first shot of the game. Hampus Lindholm came across the ice in the neutral zone to force Jordan Eberle into a turnover. Jakob Silfverberg grabbed it and headed the other way, catching Edmonton on a change, for a mini-4-on-2 break with Nate Thompson going to the net and Beauch trailing. Silf laid it off to Beauch in acres of space, he walked it to the top of the circle and wristed it through the screen of Thompson and between Ben Scrivens' blocker and his body. 1-0 Ducks.
After the goal, everything cleaned up a lot for the Ducks, and it only took about six and a half minutes to extend the lead. Everyone's favorite Oilers Defenseman, Justin Schultz straight up whiffed on picking up a loose puck in the corner, Silf swiped it and threw it to the front of the net, where Nate Thompson chopped it home on only the Ducks' third shot on goal of the game. 2-0 Ducks.
There isn't a heck of a lot more to say about this first period. The shots only ended up 7-7, the Oilers had a slight edge in possession, thanks to that flurry to start the game, but otherwise it was a pretty evenly played but opportunistic period for the Ducks.
The first really good scoring chance of the period came about five minutes in on the stick of Taylor Hall, as he got behind the Anaheim D, but was hooked by James Wisniewski. There may have been call for that to become a penalty shot, but the Ducks were lucky it wasn't because, I'm confident in saying that the ensuing power play was THE WORST I've ever seen, including by beer league teams that I've played on. The Oilers literally didn't touch the puck for the first 40 seconds of the man advantage. The Oilers' had almost no interest in pressuring the puck as the Ducks essentially played keep away in the Edmonton zone. Thompson and Andrew Cogliano went in on a 2-on-1 but the pass was broken up by Schultz. In the last 10 seconds of the PP or so, the Oilers kind of got set up, but turned it right back over to the Ducks. Emerson Etem found Wisniewski coming fresh out of the box for a breakway, but Scrivens blockered it aside.
About a minute after the kill, Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf went in on a 2-on-1 against Keith Aulie, who made a good defensive play going down to block the pass across, but the puck came right back to Perry and he knocked the puck down out of mid air, had Scrivens flailing and snapped it past him for his 600th career NHL point. 3-0 Ducks.
On the next shift, Wiz hit Hall at the Edmonton blueline with a clean forearm to the chest, but apparently Hall didn't like it too much as he was sent off for unsportsmanlike conduct. The power play was not good, but nothing compared to Edmonton's. Cam Fowler did get away with pestering Benoit Puliot to prevent a shorthanded breakaway, and when the rebound came to Oscar Keleftbom in the high slot Fowler collided with Andersen who still made the save at the top of the crease.
Only a minute after that penalty was killed, Scrivens made a good save on Cogs from the slot with his shoulder, but SImon Despres picked up the rebound off the wall, threw it in front and it deflected in off the knee of Nikita Nikitin, for Despres' first goal as a Duck. 4-0 Ducks.
With five minutes left, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was called for holding and they also took Thompson off for embellishment. Both calls were probably wrong, but definitely the embellishment was a result of The Nuge's skates getting tangled with Thompson's. At the end of the ensuing 4-on-4 play Lindholm sprung Palmieri for a clear cut breakaway from center ice with a beauty of a pass all the way back from the faceoff dot in his own zone. Palmieri went to the backhand and Scrivens got his right skate to the post just in time.
As Nugent-Hopkins and Thompson exited their respective penalty boxes, the former first overall pick - sorry, need to be more specific, Nugent-Hopkins - poked the puck off of Cogliano's stick and jumped into the play, creating a 2-on-1 with Eberle. Despres dropped to the ice, in an attempt to cut off the pass from Eberle to RNH, but it got through and Freddy couldn't do anything about it. 4-1 Ducks.
Third Period Recap:
Early in the third, there was a scary moment, where a harmless shot went off the side of the goal, Freddy hugged the near post and as Andrew Miller tried to get the rebound his shoulder caught Freddy right in the side of the head. Andersen was very slow to get up, but apparently claimed to be fine as the referee came over to check on him as the puck exited the zone but didn't stop the play. It's only made more concerning since, Andersen missed an extended period of time with what was presumably a concussion, after getting hit in the back of the head by the cross bar falling on top of him in early February.
The only other thing really worth talking about in the third period happened about a minute later as another nice outlet pass from Lindholm to Silfverberg started the Ducks on a break and Silf found Cogliano behind the defense for a full breakaway from the blueline in, but Klefbom slashed his stick in half for a penalty shot. Cogs went in to the right, stick handled a couple times in the slot as he drifted across to his left and picked the top corner, stick side. 5-1 Ducks.
The Ducks had to kill a couple of penalties as the game wound down. With four minutes left, Etem had Scrivens out of the net and the puck was on its way into a mostly empty net before Aulie got a stick on it, but that was all she wrote, as they cruise to their third consecutive Pacific Division title.
The Good: The Silfverberg, Thompson, Cogliano line was unstoppable. Without them, it would have been a muuuuuuuuuuch closer game that would probably have most Ducks fans very nervous about playing the Oilers so close heading into the playoffs. But it wasn't and the Ducks cruised to an easy blowout win.
The Bad: The Oilers probably won't be any better tomorrow night in LA.
The Ugly: That blow to the head of Freddy Andersen, doesn't appear to be anything major, but you never know with potential head injuries, especially since he is just coming off of one.
Next Game: Friday, April 3, 7:00pm PST vs. Colorado Avlanche