The Anaheim Ducks were able to follow up their entertaining win against the Canucks with an equally thrilling win (at least toward the end) against the Edmonton Oilers. The Ducks did what they do best against the Oilers - tie it late and put it away in overtime, filling all Edmonton fans with infuriating memories of the Game 5 “Comeback on Katella”.
The lines seem to be clicking a little more as they start to find a bit of a groove. Newcomer Jake Dotchin, who was acquired this season, made his Ducks debut tonight and impressed defensively. With the win the Ducks finish their home-stand 2-0-2, managing to capture at least one point in every game.
Anaheim came out with a good intensity to their game, and it resulted in them more-or-less bullying the Oilers early on. Any time the Oilers had the puck they seem rushed to make decisions with a Ducks player right there pressuring them. The Ducks were also swift to possess the puck for extended periods of time, and generate some quality chances.
Ryan Getzlaf was able to get alone up close, catching Mikko Koskinen on his stomach, but the puck rolled off his stick as Getzlaf tried to lift it over him. Ryan Kesler got a wide open chance not long after as the puck rolled into the slot, but he sent his slap shot high over the net. Jakob Silfverberg followed up the next minute with his own chance, getting some space along the right side, but fired his wrist shot wide left. The chances were there but the Ducks were just missing.
Milan Lucic took a hit along the boards and retaliated by giving the ref some words, which resulted in a two-minute game misconduct and the first powerplay of the game for the Ducks. The Ducks couldn’t convert however, and the period ended with the Ducks outshooting the Oilers 8-7.
Anaheim got called for a too many men penalty in the first minute, giving Edmonton their first power play attempt. They weren’t able to convert despite holding the zone for almost the entire power play and getting a couple quality chances in close, but John Gibson was ready.
Some pretty uneventful back-and-forth between the two teams dominated the period, without either team getting much momentum. A good chance teased near the end for the Ducks after a great defensive effort with back-to-back shot blocks by Kiefer Sherwood and Andrew Cogliano to spring an odd-man rush. Cogliano fed Sherwood across ice but Sherwood shot it wide from the left circle.
It was Edmonton this time getting the penalty early in the period with Ty Rattie called for a tripping penalty just 90 seconds in. Getzlaf seemingly killed Koskinen with a slap shot to his chest. He laid flat on the ice for a good two minutes before getting back up. Nothing else came from the power play.
The Ducks thought they had the first goal of the game. Silfverberg fed Pontus Aberg from behind the net and Aberg one-timed it to score. After video review however, the puck fluttered along the goalline and was knocked back before fully crossing, so the game remained at a tie.
Brandon Montour would turn the puck over to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins at his own blueline as well as slash him in the process. Josh Mahura was able to close the gap so RNH had to settle for a slap shot that Gibson was able to save, but the Oilers would get their second power play.
The Oilers managed to get an odd-man rush while on the power play and it proved lethal. Conner McDavid fed RNH near the right circle and he beat Gibson short side before Gibson could get all the way over. Oilers take the lead 1-0.
With under two minutes remaining, the Ducks pulled the goalie for an extra attacker and started cycling the puck in the offensive zone. Marcus Pettersson fired a shot from the point into traffic. The shot was blocked in front, but left Koskinen out of position. Nick Ritchie was the first to the loose puck and was able to put in the rebound on an open net, tying the game with just 16 seconds left.
This was third overtime in the last 4 games for the Ducks. This one wouldn’t take very long, however. Montour, from behind his own net, sent a hail mary pass to Rakell at the far blue line. Rakell caught the pass and beat out Leon Draisaitl for a backhand attempt. Koskinen stopped the first attempt with his right pad, but Rakell followed up and put the rebound five hole to sneak it in and win the game just 14 seconds into overtime, to break his snake-bitten trend and earn his 100th personal goal.
Best and Worst
Best - Rickard Rakell scoring. Rakell was finally able to break his nine-game scoring drought, dating back to Nov. 1st. The Ducks best goal-scorer has been unlucky despite getting chances left and right. He picked a great time to end the drought though with his game winner in overtime, as well as getting an assist on the game-tying goal. Side note: Rakell scored his his 1st NHL goal on April 23rd, 2014 and his 100th on November 23rd, 2018. The number 23 is strong with this one!
Worst - Not cashing in the opportunities. Despite getting the win which is great, the Ducks had a lot of chances they couldn’t score on, and not because of a defensive effort or the goalie making some outstanding save. They had a cycle of chances to start the game, each of which could’ve been quality goals, but the shots continually missed the net. The end of this game could’ve ended a lot less intensely if the Ducks would find a way to get to the back of the net.
Best - Rhythm and Resilience. For the second game in a row, the Ducks had numerous stretches where they looked like a hockey team with an actual game plan rather than just dump-and-chase. They seem to be finding a rhythm with their lines and it’s resulting in more scoring chances. They also showed that resilience for which they were once feared. Sticking to their game plan despite being down a goal and finding ways to score.
Three Stars of the Game
1. Rickard Rakell - Overtime winner, his 100th goal of his career.
2. John Gibson
3. Nick Ritchie