Edmonton definitely carried the momentum from Game 1 into the start of Game 2. The Oilers didn’t wait to get on Anaheim at the start of the game as Connor McDavid carried a puck deep just a minute into the first period. After taking a hit, the puck found its way back to the point and onto the stick of a waiting Andrej Sekera who fired the puck behind Gibson, giving the Oilers and early 1-0 lead.
The game slowed down a bit after the initial goal as neither team was able to get significant zone time. Then, nearly halfway through the first frame, McDavid’s speed was put on full display. #97 got the puck on the right half-boards in his own zone and proceeded to leave Ryan Getzlaf in his dust. As McDavid entered the Anaheim zone, Josh Manson stepped into the speedy center, taking him to the ice but preventing a quality scoring chance. McDavid was able to draw a holding call against Manson on the play. It felt to me like something that would be called in the regular season but usually is let slide in the postseason, but the paid officials disagreed and Anaheim went on their sixth penalty kill of the young series.
Something that essentially cost Anaheim Game #1 came up big early, however, as Anaheim played very well killing off the Manson minor. An early shorthanded chance by the combo of Getzlaf and Kesler started the kill off on the right foot. Anaheim played out the rest of the kill very well, limiting Edmonton’s zone time and blocking all the dangerous chances.
Despite a few dangerous chances courtesy of the Oilers’ speed, Anaheim seemed to get a ton of momentum from the penalty kill as they dominated the possession battle for the rest of the first.
A late chance for Edmonton produced what appeared to be a goal, but it was immediately waved off. Letestu had gotten a little too friendly with Gibson in the crease, and went off for goaltender interference. Anaheim’s subsequent powerplay produced some great chances, but Cam Talbot stood tall as he had all period. With Anaheim failing to score with the man-advantage, the Ducks went into the first intermission down 1-0.
Talbot is winning this game for his team right now.— Anaheim Calling (@AnaheimCalling) April 29, 2017
The second period started with another couple of rushes as a result of Edmonton’s speed. Connor McDavid and Drake Caggiula both had stellar rushes, but John Gibson stood tall, holding the deficit at 1. Five minutes into the period, Zach Kassian drew a holding call against Korbinian Holzer behind the Anaheim net, sending Edmonton on their second powerplay of the game.
Gibson shut down some stellar chances early in the powerplay, but Edmonton was able to cash in with seconds left in the man advantage. Ryan Eberle drove down the left half-boards and put a shot towards the Anaheim net. The puck hit Patrick Maroon’s skate, who was parked in front, and then ramped off of the blade of Gibson’s goal stick and into the net. 2-0 Edmonton.
The game slowed down again after the second Edmonton goal, as neither team seemed to be able to establish themselves in the offensive zone. With just over 7 minutes left in the period, Anaheim got back on the powerplay. Andrew Cogliano drew a holding call against Zach Kassian, putting the Ducks on the man-advantage. Cam Talbot continued to be the Oilers’ best player, however, as he stopped shot after shot that the Ducks threw at him.
Despite being unable to score on their second powerplay, Jared Boll (I know, right? He actually did a thing!) drew a penalty against Darnell Nurse, putting Anaheim back on the powerplay with less than 5 left in the second. Anaheim didn’t waste any time on their third man-advantage. A clean faceoff win back to the point, and a pass to Jakob Silfverberg on the wing led to a beautiful shot from #33. The shot beat Talbot clean, bringing Anaheim within one late in the second.
Anaheim carried a ton of momentum off the powerplay goal as they continued to control play late in the second. The only thing that could stop their charge was a high-sticking penalty against Shea Theodore who caught Benoit Pouliot up high. Anaheim killed the penalty and went to the locker room down 2-1 at the end of the second frame.
Anaheim came out of the locker room firing in the third. Some early chances from the top line really got the building buzzing and the momentum on the Ducks’ side. The Ducks got a number of chances one after the other, with the captain seemingly figuring in a grade-A chance every time he got on the ice. Anaheim’s continued pressure finally drew a penalty nearly halfway through the third. A driving Rickard Rakell drew a hook against Kris Russell, giving Anaheim their fourth powerplay of the contest.
Anaheim’s net-front presence started to really create trouble for Talbot as an early shot deflected in front and off the post. Anaheim continued to pressure but a few late turnovers helped the Oilers kill off the rest of the Russell minor.
Anaheim continued to send everything at Edmonton until Brandon Montour took a late penalty. As Edmonton threw the puck up the glass to try and clear, Montour tried to step up and keep in a bouncing puck that Benoit Pouliot tapped past him. Whiffing on the puck, Montour was caught and was forced to take an interference penalty against Pouliot to prevent a 1-on-0 rush.
Gibson battled off a few good chances from the Oilers on the powerplay. One chance produced a loose puck inches from going in, but a pile of Ducks skaters kept Anaheim in the game.
After killing the penalty, Anaheim was short on time to try and tie the game. As the period got closer to the end, the Ducks struggled to establish possession in the Edmonton zone so that they could pull Gibson. Finally, with less that a minute left, Anaheim got their goaltender off and went to work. The Ducks really only produced one quality chance with their goaltender pulled as they were unable to jam a puck behind a scrambling Talbot.
In the end, Anaheim dropped their second game in a row in which they dominated at even strebgth. Anaheim now heads to Edmonton down two games to none. Without the last change, it will be much more difficult for Anaheim to control the likes of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. The Ducks will need huge efforts (and more net-front traffic) in games 3 & 4 if they want to play another game in Honda Center this season.
Ducks were the way better team for 95% of that game. No puck luck and Talbot played the game of his damn life.— Anaheim Calling (@AnaheimCalling) April 29, 2017