The Anaheim Ducks picked up a much-needed win (and two points) against the division rival Edmonton Oilers Friday night. Sitting outside of the playoffs, every game feels like a must win in the West as a host of teams battle for the remaining spots. The Ducks came into this one with energy and kept it going all game. Both Corey Perry and Ryan Kesler, who haven’t seemed quite one hundred percent since their injuries, were a part of numerous scoring chances and both scored during the game.
The Ducks were able to strike first in the early minutes. After several swats at the puck in front of the net, a loose puck was ringed off the side wall and was tee’d up for Hampus Lindholm. The shot was going wide, but instead fortuitously bounced off of Andrej Sekera’s skate and into the net.
The Ducks carried a 1-0 lead into the locker room, but the Oilers came out with a push in the second. Back-to-back penalties at the midway point gave Edmonton some extra momentum but they weren’t able to convert. The Ducks defensive core of Hampus Lindholm, Cam Fowler, and Josh Manson were looked great all night. The were aggressive defensively, closing gaps and challenging players (especially Connor McDavid) at the blue line.
Later in the second period, the Oilers with a bad clearing attempt flip it right to Ryan Getzlaf, who gloved it down and fed it to a streaking Perry. Perry skated in uncontested and picked it 5-hole to make it 2-0.
Just one minute later Edmonton was able to answer, though. A bouncing puck got past Francois Beauchemin and allowed a breakaway opportunity for Anton Slepyshev. Slepyshev does the ol’ forehand-backhand move and beats John Gibson to cut the lead in half.
The Ducks mostly dominated the third period. Three minutes in the Ducks get a nice breakout with Andrew Cogliano leaving a drop pass to Lindholm who has a clean lane to shoot. As it’s sent on net, Kesler is able to get a stick on it and redirect it past Cam Talbot. Milan Lucic took a penalty shortly after to keep the momentum in Anaheim’s favor. Remember when Edmonton thought signing him to a bad contract was a good idea?
The Ducks put relentless pressure on the Oilers for a few straight minutes, led by Perry. Corey Perry has looked like a new man since being reunited with his longtime linemate and captain. He has multiple chances throughout the night, one of his best coming on a great individual effort. After toe dragging past a defender he tries to make a backhand shot that’s just barely disrupted by two nagging Edmonton sticks. He followed up shortly after with another great chance. After picking up the puck on the side boards, Perry snuck in close and had Talbot beat high but rung it off the crossbar.
With five minutes remaining the Oilers catch the Ducks up high and Connor McDavid threads a pass to a wide open Kris Russell for the tap in.
Things began to speed up from here with both teams trading chances and getting chippy with one another. The Oilers pull their goalie with one minute remaining, but the Ducks dominated the puck possession and the Oilers couldn’t get any real good scoring chances. Ducks hold on to win and gain get the two points.
Anaheim will be back in action on Sunday when the host the San Jose Sharks at 5pm PST.