EDMONTON, AB - A rough start to the second period put the game out of reach as a fierce Oilers rally fell short and Anaheim took the 4-2 win at Rexall Place.
With Andrew Ference in the penalty box for a high-sticking call in the first period, the Ducks took a 1-0 lead. At 4:56, Sami Vatanen fired a shot from the top of the circle past Viktor Fasth for the goal. Ryan Getzlaf and Rene Bourque recorded the assists.
At 11:33 of the first, Tim Jackman was stoned by Fasth on a breakaway, keeping the score 1-0.
The offensive chances were almost exclusively generated by the Ducks in the first period, as the Oilers found themselves trailing in shots 10-3 after the first period.
Things didn’t start off much better for the Oilers in the second period. They allowed two goals in the opening minute of the frame.
Seven seconds into the period, Kyle Palmieri scored alone on Fasth. Vatanen and Ryan Kesler got the assists.
Getzlaf scored at 19:09 of the second to give the Ducks a 3-0 lead. Borque and Ben Lovejoy earned the helpers.
“We got out of the first period, we dodged a couple of bullets and we were settled,” Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins said. “Then going into the second, we challenged a couple of players that we needed more of and gave them a chance to start the period and the response was not there. That’s when you’re going to find yourself not playing much and you’ve let your teammates down. I don’t understand it. You only play so many minutes in a game, whether it’s 25 minutes or six minutes, and you should be able to give everything you have in every one of those minutes.”
Getzlaf’s tally signalled the end of Fasth’s night in goal for the Oilers. Ben Scrivens came into the game following that score.
Fasth was visibly frustrated as he entered the Oilers bench.
“I was disappointed with myself in giving the first two shots of the second period up,” Fasth said. “No matter what the chances were, I’ve still got to make a save to keep us in there. I was trying to get us to wake up a little bit and get us going.”
It took an impressive shift by Oilers top centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to help get the Oilers on the board. Nugent-Hopkins’ two big hits gave the Oilers energy and Tyler Pitlick fired a wrister past Frederik Andersen for his first goal of the season. Nugent-Hopkins earned an assist on the tally, at 15:24 of the second period.
It was almost a deflating moment for the Oilers with 15:19 left in the third. It appeared as though Getzlaf scored, but the puck never crossed the line and Edmonton was hanging in there, down by two.
The Oilers jumped right back into the game when Jeff Petry scored on a power play one-timer at 12:40 of the third. Petry’s shot redirected off the stick of Ducks forward Devante Smith-Pelly. Taylor Hall and Teddy Purcell got the assists and the Ducks lead dwindled to 3-2.
The Oilers turned the tide after the Petry goal. After being outshot by a wide margin in the first, Edmonton brought the pressure in the third. The Oilers outshot the Ducks 11-4 in the final frame.
Unfortunately for the Oilers, time wasn’t on their side. Anaheim hemmed the Oilers in their zone to help kill off time at the end of the third. With Scrivens finally pulled, the Ducks put away an empty-net goal to take the game, 4-2.