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Recap: Ducks Can't Close Out Series, Lose 7-1 in Game 6 to Oilers

by Kyle Shohara @kyleshohara / AnaheimDucks.com

EDMONTON -- Seemingly, in a blink of an eye, the Ducks found themselves behind the eight ball and a massive deficit staring them in the face.

It took Leon Draisaitl less than three minutes to leave his mark, a whiffed breakaway attempt that snuck past John Gibson and set the tone for what was to come. A five-goal outburst in the first period alone sent Gibson to the bench in favor of Jonathan Bernier, who didn't fare any better in a 7-1 loss in Game 6 at Rogers Place, forcing a do-or-die Game 7 on Wednesday at Honda Center.

When all was said and done, Draisaitl's hat-trick performance helped lead Edmonton to its first seven-goal postseason performance since the 1991 conference finals. The Oilers also got two goals from Mark Letestu, and single tallies from Anton Slepyshev and Zack Kassian.

Rickard Rakell scored the lone goal for the Ducks, who continue a disturbing trend of failing to close out 3-2 series leads.

"You want to flush it, but you have to look at what you did wrong," said Andrew Cogliano. "There were a lot of mistakes we made tonight. Uncharacteristic mistakes. We deserved to lose that way. You don't see other teams giving up breakaways in the first 10 minutes of a hockey game to move on to the conference finals. They wanted it and they outplayed us and outclassed us. They out-battled us. Until we want to prove to ourselves we want to take that next step, we're going to have to bring our best game."

The Oilers brought their crowd to life just 2:45 into the game when Draisaitl broke free on a breakaway and snuck a shot through the five hole on a delayed penalty. Not only did Draisaitl flub his attempted shot, but Gibson also failed to make contact with the puck with his stick swipe.

Draisaitl did it again at the 12:38 mark when he sent a backhander that slid across the ice and under Gibson's left pad. The play started when Milan Lucic threw the puck into the crease, one that Ducks defenseman Sami Vatanen couldn't get a hold of, allowing Draisaitl to use a spin move for his fourth goal of the playoffs. The goal prompted Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle to use his timeout to settle his team down.

Kassian made it 3-0 (a familiar score we've seen in this series) 62 seconds later on a breakaway - again - through the five hole. That spelled the end of the night for Gibson, and in came Bernier.

A nightmarish opening period got even worse when Bernier temporarily lost sight of the puck, allowing Letestu to corral a rebound and send a wrist shot top shelf before Bernier could recover. Bernier thought he sent the initial shot into the air, which prompted him to look skyward. Unfortunately, the puck laid in front of him and right in Letestu's wheelhouse.

The game took a turn when Cogliano and Drake Caggiula dropped the gloves inside the Oilers zone. With under five minutes remaining in the period, both players went to their respective dressing rooms after Caggiula appeared to have the upper hand in the scrap.

Before the period ended, Letestu put a bow on it when he one-timed a pass from Matt Benning to make it 5-0 on the power play with 1:11 remaining.

It took just 45 seconds for the Oilers to make it a 6-0 game when fourth-line right wing Slepyshev buried a 2-on-1 with Patrick Maroon after the Ducks were guilty of sloppy play to begin the second period.

"We didn't come out and execute the way we needed to and they did," said Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf. "Before the game we went through our normal routine, but clearly we weren't [ready]. They came out and played hard, executed with the puck. They had four goals on eight shots or something. Point-blank chances. We can't expect on our goalie to stand on his head."

Talbot's shutout bid ended when Rakell was left uncovered on the left wing and buried a shot into a wide open net at the 8:56 mark of the second period. Rakell's goal, his sixth of the playoffs, also gave him 10 points in 10 games. With an assist, Cam Fowler passed Chris Pronger (23) and Jakob Silfverberg (23) for sixth on the all-time franchise playoff assist list and third among defensemen.

Video: ANA@EDM, Gm6: Rakell, Perry combine for nifty goal

Edmonton regained its commanding six-goal lead when Draisaitl converted on the power play with 4:33 remaining in the middle frame, completing his hat trick and sending a stream of lids onto the ice following Edmonton's seventh goal of the game.

Both clubs will have to wait two full days before they meet one last time, in a do-or-die Game 7 at Honda Center, on Wednesday night (time TBD).

"You have to get ready for Wednesday," said Fowler. "A loss is a loss. At this time of the year, it doesn't matter what the score is. Credit to them, they came out and punched us right in the mouth. It was tough to claw back after the first period."

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