Teemu Hartikainen scored 15 seconds in, adding another at 6:04 and providing all the offence the Oilers would need. Devan Dubnyk did the rest, stopping 32 shots -- including 15 in a hectic third period -- to propel Edmonton to a 2-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday night at the Honda Center.
The Oilers wasted no time in establishing a 1-0 lead. Just 15 seconds into the game, a D-to-D exchange between Anaheim's Sheldon Brookbank and Luca Sbisa went wrong. Jordan Eberle pounced on the loose puck, centered it into the slot where Teemu Hartikainen accepted the pass and rifled a wrister upstairs on Jonas Hiller.
Edmonton continued its hot scoring hand at 6:04 when the lead was expanded to a pair. On the team's third shot, Ryan Whitney sifted a shot through bodies; Sbisa, who was having a rough go in the period's early-going, redirected the attempt en route -- it was tipped once more, as Hartikainen caught a piece of it, giving the young Finn his second of the night and setting the score at 2-0 in the visitors' favour.
The period's 10-minute mark (and then some) passed with a lengthy, seven-minute duration without a stoppage. When it came, it was much to the Oilers' chagrin, mind you. Niklas Hagman worked the visitors down low, beating his man Sam Gagner and centering a pass through Ryan Whitney's legs to the doorstep; Teemu Selanne was waiting beside Dubnyk as he one-touched the delivery past the netminder to make it a one-goal game on his club's sixth shot.
With exactly 5:00 remaining, Bobby Ryan exploded with a hit through Corey Potter -- a certain headshot -- alongside the side boards as the blueliner attempted to corral a rim. Andy Sutton stepped in; so, too, did Ducks winger Devante Smith-Pelly to defend his teammate. Roughing penalties were assessed to all three, in addition to Nick Bonino, keeping the teams in a 5-on-5 situation.
The bad blood simmered as the rest of the period elapsed without incident. Through 20 minutes, the Oilers continued to lead 2-1 but were trailing the Ducks 8-4 in shots.
While the opening period ended on happier terms, the fists (literally) came out near the second's six-minute mark. Cam Barker dropped the mitts with Ryan Getzlaf, popping him several times with a flurry of lefts to earn to decision. The tilt was in response to No. 13's demolition of Jason Blake moments earlier; overall, a tremendous shift for the Oilers rearguard.
As the midway mark approached, the orange and blue continued to lead as the shots (11-7 for the Ducks) remained close.
Whitney and Blake got into a slashing match in the slot at 10:41, but the Oilers defenceman was the only one to be disciplined. As such, the Ducks' 16.7-percent power-play went to work. Five seconds later, Corey Perry was assessed a hooking minor -- canceling the advantage and putting the teams in a 4-on-4 situation.
That, too, was shortlived. The Ducks' power-play took to the ice once more 12 seconds later when Ryan Smyth was charged with goaltender interference. On the PP, Saku Koivu found himself alone at the doorstep with plenty of net to shoot at, but Dubnyk came up with a miraculous in-tight denial as a backhand paddle save preserved his club's lead.
The rest of the penalties expired without a goal on either side.
Scoring chances continued to be scarce, but Dubnyk came up big when he was needed -- and, in some cases, the clock was his buddy. On a delayed penalty on Eric Belanger in the period's dying seconds, Getzlaf unleashed a bullet from the line that beat the netminder. Fortunately, time had expired and the teams skated to their locker rooms.
Stopping all 10 shots the Ducks peppered him with in the middle frame, Dubnyk gave his team a 2-1 lead heading into the third.
Post-period, it was announced that Ales Hemsky would not return to the game due to a sore shoulder.
Dubnyk's late-second heroics continued into the third's early moments, making a thrilling blocker save as the puck sat on the goal line and with Ducks swarming to elisde it home. A delay of game minor was charged to Nick Schultz on the same sequence, however, giving the home side an extended 5-on-3 power-play.
Just as the Oilers killed them off, another was assessed to Schultz. As No. 15 stepped out, he disrupted a Blake rush and was consequently charged with interference. The ruling was that the player needs to be completely removed from the box before he can involve himself in the play; the correct call.
That Ducks added one shot on Dubnyk, extending to a 24-10 advantage overall, but the equalizer couldn't be cashed.
With 12:54 on the clock, another melee was sparked. This time, it was Colten Teubert and Sheldon Brookbank that did the dancing. In a mostly even tilt, No. 33 dished a strong shot in the early-going that set the tone.
At 15:21, Cam Fowler was penalized for tripping Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. The visitors were unable to maintain possession, however, succumbing to an 0-for-1 success rate.
As the clock read :33, Hiller raced to the bench for an extra-attacker. But it wasn't of any use, as the Oilers cruised to the buzzer and a 2-1 win despite a dangerous last-ditch rush by the Finnish Flash.
-- Ryan Dittrick, edmontonoilers.com - Follow me on Twitter | @ryandittrick