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Ducks beat Oilers, clinch Pacific crown

Tuesday, 04.23.2013 / 1:37 AM

The Anaheim Ducks are Pacific Division champions.

Viktor Fasth made 24 saves for his fourth shutout of the season as the Ducks clinched the Pacific crown with a 3-0 victory against the Edmonton Oilers on Monday at Rexall Place.

Ryan Getzlaf, Radek Dvorak and Sami Vatanen scored for the Ducks (29-11-6), who won back-to-back games in Edmonton to capture their first divisional title since 2007 -- the year they went on to win the Stanley Cup.

"It feels great to capture the division," Fasth said. "We still have to keep working hard, but the last two games have been a step in the right direction for us. I think we were even better in this game than we were the night before. We still have things to work on before the playoffs, though."

The Oilers (17-21-7) have now lost eight of their past nine. Edmonton has not made the postseason since it reached the Stanley Cup Final in 2006.

"We saw an `A' game from Anaheim tonight and we just couldn't match it," Oilers coach Ralph Krueger said. "They were hungry to get their second place in the Western Conference wrapped up and it was a show for us what playoff teams are playing like and thinking like right now. We just can't rise to that level right now.

"The disappointment when you look at us right now is you don't recognize the team that was in eighth place at the 35-game mark. What has happened here is frustrating for everybody."

Anaheim started the scoring six minutes in on the power play as Getzlaf picked the puck out of a scramble out front and calmly slipped his 15th of the season past Oilers goalie Nikolai Khabibulin.

The Ducks went up 2-0 at 11:48 as Emerson Etem was left alone to send a beautiful no-look backhand pass to Dvorak for an easy tap-in.

The only good chance in a scoreless second period belonged to the Ducks, as Kyle Palmieri was alone in tight, but stoned on a quick glove save by Khabibulin with two minutes remaining. The shots were 18-16 in Anaheim’s favor after 40 minutes.

"It's hard," Oilers forward Sam Gagner said. "You look around and teams have done this at times, where you have a year where things spiral out of control at the end. But when it happens a few years in a row, it tends to wear on you. It's unacceptable to play that way. The one thing you can hold your hat on is your compete level and showing pride in what you've accomplished.

"You don't get to the NHL without working hard and putting in the time. We can't forget that when these games are going on. We need to continue to push through and be proud of how we handled things down the stretch."

The Ducks took a three-goal lead four minutes into the third period as Vatanen sent a long shot through traffic that found the top corner of the net.

"First and foremost we needed to get back to our game and playing well," Anaheim defenseman Francois Beauchemin said. "We needed to get some confidence and score some goals. To get two wins here was good for us and it's great to get wrap up the division, but we still want to get better and have some real momentum going into the playoffs."

Next up for the Oilers is a home date against the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday. The Ducks finish off a four-game road trip in Vancouver on Thursday.

Oilers center Eric Belanger made his return after missing 13 straight games with a groin injury. He replaced Magnus Paajarvi, who was nursing a foot injury.

The Ducks, who were already without defensemen Sheldon Souray and Luca Sbisa due to lower-body injuries, had to scratch forward Bobby Ryan due to an illness.

Material from wire services and team media was used in this report.

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