Edmonton's Sam Gagner battles Anaheim's Cam Fowler during the opening period on Jan. 13, 2012 at Rexall Place. Anaheim won the game in a 5-0 shutout. (Photo by Andy Devlin / Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club).
With the loss, the Oilers' record drops to 16-23-4 on the season; the orange & blue remain in 13th spot in the NHL's Western Conference.
The Oilers' three-game homestand wraps up on Sunday as the Los Angeles Kings come to town. Game time is 6:00 p.m. MST and it can be seen on Rogers Sportsnet West.
Second-period goals by Teemu Selanne, Jason Blake and Corey Perry propelled the visitors to an outright and commanding lead that proved insurmountable. The Oilers peppered Jonas Hiller with 33 shots, but were unable to crack the veteran en route to a 5-0 shutout loss to the Ducks Friday night at Rexall Place.
Anaheim's Niklas Hagman lifted the puck over the glass just 14 seconds into the game, putting the Oilers' 21.3-percent power-play to work; but, despite registering a shot and several in-tight opportunities, the home side squandered the early chance and the scoreless game continued.
Moments later and with momentum spurring, both goaltenders came up big. First, Ales Hemsky dished to Taylor Hall in the slot and, while No. 4 connected with a hard snapshot, Jonas Hiller stoned the sophomore with a brilliant blocker save.
At the other end, an ill-advised turnover by Jeff Petry allowed Teemu Selanne to bridge a one-timer on birthday-boy Nikolai Khabibulin, but the now 39-year-old veteran made an equally as large stop to preserve the scoreless tie.
Exactly 8:00 into the game, however, the Ducks escaped the Oilers' early hunt, notching the ice-breaker on the team's sixth shot. Cam Fowler, pinching to help support the attack, passed across to Jason Blake in the slot; the veteran quickly corralled the dish and ripped a shot past Khabibulin's blocker to establish a 1-0 Ducks advantage.
The orange and blue engineered a late-period surge to pepper the opposition 'tender, but the attempts came up empty. Through 20 minutes, the Ducks' 1-0 lead remained as the Oilers matched the visitors' eight-shot output.
Just as the Ducks did in the opening period, an early penalty (Sam Gagner, cross-checking) put the Oilers down a man 32 seconds in. Teemu Selanne helped orchestrate additional damage, as his attempted centering pass was redirected home off Khabibulin's skate 1:14 into the power-play to put the Ducks up 2-0.
The Oilers responded with a strong push moments later and it appeared as though Anton Lander had scored to cut the visitors' lead in half, but the play was erroneously blown dead as the referee lost sight of the puck (which was loose to the unsuspecting goalie's right).
With 12:56 on the clock and with the Oilers in need of a spark, Sam Gagner dropped the mitts in a mismatched bout with Anaheim's Francois Beauchemin. The quick, but highly-spirited tilt was awarded to the 6'0", 207-pound Duck.
Still relishing the momentum of their teammate's bout, the Ducks came back and scored another. Ryan Getzlaf choreographed the play, which allowed Bobby Ryan to direct a goal-line shot on net. The puck escaped Khabibulin's grasp and, once again, banked in to put the visitors up by a commanding three-goal margin.
Having allowed three goals on 14 shots, Khabibulin was replaced with Devan Dubnyk between the pipes at this point.
No. 40 didn't have it much easier. With 6:24 remaining, Corey Perry was sprung on a breakaway; Dubnyk was up to the task, stopping the sniper's initial attempt with his glove, but the rebound was scooped up and cashed into the gaping cage behind the sophomore netminder.
Having succombed to a 4-0 disadvantage on 17 shots, the boo-birds came out at Rexall Place.
The Oilers killed a late-period roughing minor to Ryan O'Marra, but the daunting Ducks' lead carried into the third period.
Looking to get on the scoreboard, the Oilers' captain burst up-ice and created a solid 2-on-1 scoring opportunity, but his wide-side blast was turned aside by Hiller to preserve his shutout bid.
As the period's 10-minute mark passed, the OIlers extended to a 30-25 lead on the shot clock, but a goal still couldn't be recorded. And with the chances were there, including another odd-man rush with eight minutes to go, but Eric Belanger looked to complete a cross-ice pass to the shooter, which canceled the opportunity altogether.
The Oilers were provided with another last-gasp chance to get on the scoreboard when Toni Lydman was assessed an interference minor at 14:15, putting the orange and blue's 0-for-1 power-play back to work. The sputtering man-advantage couldn't generate much; and, with seven seconds remaining in it, Petry was sent to the box to serve a tripping a minor.
Selanne picked up his second point (and goal) of the night with 2:42 to play as he sent a cross-crease pass to Visnovsky, but the dish was redirected into the waning cage en route to mark a 5-0 Anaheim lead.
The remaining seconds elapsed without incident as the Oilers dropped a 5-0 shutout loss to the Ducks.