Ducks defeat Oilers, snap tie for second in Pacific

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[March 23, 2017]  ANAHEIM, Calif. -- With nine games left, the Anaheim Ducks plan not to relinquish easily the Pacific Division championship they won the past four seasons.

Josh Manson and Rickard Rakell scored in the second period as the Ducks rallied for a 4-3 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday night at Honda Center.

Patrick Eaves and Hampus Lindholm added goals for the Ducks (39-23-11), who used their sixth win in eight games to move within two points of the first-place San Jose Sharks.

"We kept pushing," Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf said. "With these people, you want to make sure you're playing at the top of your game and put doubt in their minds, knowing that we can beat them."

Getzlaf contributed three assists, Lindholm finished with a career-high three points and goalie Jonathan Bernier stopped 29 shots for his sixth victory in seven decisions.

Getzlaf believes the team's recent success reflects improved concentration and discipline, especially after the Ducks managed just six shots in the first period to Edmonton's 15.

"I thought we did a better job of maintaining our attitude throughout the game," Getzlaf said. "We're not getting carried away in certain situations, like we have in the past. We seemed to have learned how to let the other stuff go and just keep playing."

Connor McDavid recorded a goal and two assists while Leon Draisaitl had one of each for the Oilers (39-25-9), whose four-game winning streak ended. Edmonton fell two points behind Anaheim and remained one point ahead of the Calgary Flames. Mark Letestu added a late power-play goal.

"Everyone knows how tight the standings are," Draisaitl said. "Obviously, it was a big game, but we have more big games ahead of us."

McDavid now has 59 assists and 85 points -- both league highs -- and Draisaitl owns 11 points in his past five games.

"I'm more concerned about the checking," Edmonton coach Todd McLellan said. "We were loose coming into our zone. We missed numerous assignments that we normally have picked up. A number of situations that we normally play pretty well and pretty tight, we didn't."

But the Ducks had to survive the final 1:41 playing short-handed. Ryan Kesler received a tripping penalty at 18:19 of the third period, then Manson followed him into the penalty box 24 seconds later after closing his hand on the puck.

With reserve goalie Laurent Brossoit being pulled, the Oilers held a 6-on-3 advantage for the final 1:17. Letestu scored with 6.7 seconds to play, but the Oilers generated only two shots on goal in the final 1:41.

Trailing by one goal, the Ducks tied the score with 30.2 seconds left in the first period, when Lindholm redirected Rakell's pass from the right circle inside the left post for his sixth goal of the season.

"Just a simple coverage got away on us, and they gained a little life off of that," McLellan said. "In the second period, we played a little more on our heels. We took too many penalties and lost any type of rhythm we had."

Anaheim then scored twice in the second period to move ahead 4-2 and chase goalie Cam Talbot, who had entered the game with two successive shutouts.

"I don't (think) we had a very good start," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said about the first period. "We were flat and out of sorts, and they were much more determined than we were in the first period. We changed our attitude. We were much more competitive from the second period on. We had a lot more cycle going, and we drew some penalties on that."

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Anaheim Ducks ice crew members clear the ice during a NHL game against the Edmonton Oilers at Honda Center. The Ducks defeated the Oilers 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Manson gave the Ducks their first lead 1:33 into the second period with his fourth goal, a wrist shot from the top of the slot that deflected off the inside of the left post.

Then nine seconds after Anaheim's Jared Boll and the Oilers' Patrick Maroon went to the penalty box with coincidental minors for unsportsmanlike conduct, Rakell scored his team-leading 32nd goal.

After Rakell's goal, Brossoit replaced Talbot, who was pulled mid-game for just the second time this season after making 14 saves. Anaheim outshot Edmonton 20-6 in the second period.

Draisaitl's 25th goal gave the Oilers a 1-0 lead in the first period 10 seconds after Talbot make a big save. Kesler received Andrew Cogliano's pass while rushing into the slot and fired a backhand that Talbot stopped with his right leg pad before the puck hit the left post.

On Edmonton's ensuing rush, Draisaitl converted a wrist shot from the bottom of the right circle 5:58 into the game. McDavid began the scoring sequence by passing from the right circle to Maroon at the left post. With defenseman Kevin Bieksa checking him into the post, Maroon passed to Draisaitl for the first goal.

Eaves' 25th of the season and his fourth with the Ducks tied the score less than two minutes later. After receiving Getzlaf's pass, Eaves scored from the top of the right circle on a wrist shot that deflected off Talbot at 7:46.

A little more than a minute later, McDavid's 26th goal put the Oilers ahead, 2-1. McDavid received Draisaitl's pass from Edmonton's zone at Anaheim's blue line, beat defender Cam Fowler, kept the puck on his stick while dragging it in front of the crease and deposited a backhand inside the right post at 8:49.

"We played great in the first period," McDavid said. "We created chances but we need to figure out a way to continue doing that."


NOTES: Edmonton scratched D Matt Benning, LW Matt Hendricks, LW Jujhar Khaira and RW Iiro Pakarinen. ... Oilers RW Jordan Eberle needs two games for 500 in his career. ... Oilers coach Todd McLellan needs five games for 700 in his career. ... The Oilers' power-play conversion rate of 35 percent since Jan. 15 leads the NHL. ... Anaheim scratched G John Gibson, RW Ondrej Kase, D Brandon Montour and RW Logan Shaw. ... Ducks LW Andrew Cogliano moved into fourth place on the NHL's all-time list of consecutive games played with his 777th successive appearance. Cogliano passed Craig Ramsay, who played all 14 of his seasons for the Buffalo Sabres. ... Ducks D Clayton Stoner, who underwent abdominal surgery Dec. 21, has practiced the past two days and could receive a conditioning assignment to San Diego (AHL) soon.

[ 2017 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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