ANAHEIM - While a couple of fortuitous bounces paved the way for Anaheim's opening round sweep of the Calgary Flames, the puck luck went in the other direction tonight at Honda Center.
A fluky goal by the Edmonton Oilers late in Game 1 of the Second Round ultimately resulted in a 5-3 Anaheim defeat, the Ducks' first loss of the postseason and first in regulation in the last 18 games going back to March 12.
After the Ducks triumphantly wiped out a two-goal lead in the third period, igniting the home crowd, they suffered a gut punch with 4:40 left in the game. Edmonton's Adam Larsson threw the puck from behind the Anaheim net into the crease, where it deflected off defenseman Josh Manson skate and got behind goalie John Gibson.
The Ducks sent Gibson to the bench for an extra attacker with a minute and a half left looking for the equalizer, but the Oilers made them pay when Leon Draisaitl filled the empty net on a 2-on-1.
"There were a couple fluky goals, couple of breakdowns and an empty netter," said Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler. "Credit to them, they took advantage of their opportunities tonight. We scored three goals and that should be enough to win in the playoffs, but we were a little sloppy defensively and gave them too many opportunities on the power play."
Anaheim had a couple of lucky bounces lead to game-winning goals in 3-2 wins over the Flames in Games 1 and 2 at Honda Center in the First Round, but fortune wasn't in their corner tonight.
"We came back. We got the right response we wanted," Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf said. "Sometimes that's the way it goes. We got bounces in the first round and they got some tonight."
The Ducks waited seven days between their First Round sweep of the Flames in Calgary and tonight's Game 1, allowing some healing time for a couple of their defensemen. Anaheim regained the services of Fowler, who had missed all of the postseason thus far with a lower-body injury, as well as d-man Hampus Lindholm, who endured an upper-body ailment at the end of Game 4 in Calgary.
Any thoughts of rust during that down time were temporarily put to rest after the Ducks survived a couple of Edmonton power plays in the first, then got one of their own near the end of the period that they ultimately cashed in. Just 37 seconds into the second frame, Getzlaf carried the puck into the Edmonton zone and unleashed a wrister from the slot that beat goalie Cam Talbot.
Video: EDM@ANA, Gm1: Getzlaf rips a wrist shot for PPG
Back-to-back penalties on Anaheim's Nick Ritchie and Lindholm (which were not popular with the home crowd) opened the gates for an Edmonton 5-on-3 that turned into a larger advantage when Getzlaf's stick broke. Edmonton predictably took advantage of the break when Mark Letestu punched in a rebound.
Edmonton took its first lead on the power play, 6:23 into the third period, when Letestu banged in another rebound from a similar spot as his first goal.
It was 3-1 Oilers soon after that, as a wide open Larsson beat Gibson stick side from the slot for his first of two on the night.
"We had lots of energy and an energetic game going," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. "Both teams were battling for space on the ice. Our penalty killing let them take some of the emotion and momentum in the hockey game and put it in their favor."
Anaheim got back within one near the halfway point of the period when Patrick Eaves got a tip on a Brandon Montour shot from the point and then chipped in the rebound from just outside the crease.
Video: EDM@ANA, Gm1: Eaves lifts own rebound past Talbot
Just like that the Ducks tied it on the rush, with Andrew Cogliano taking a shot from the wing off a nice dish from Jakob Silfverberg, then Silfverberg batted in the rebound out of mid-air.
Video: EDM@ANA, Gm1: Silfverberg bats in puck out of midair
The euphoria that ran throughout an orange-filled Honda Center was ultimately quashed on Draisaitl's tally.
"I thought it was tight all three periods," Eaves said. "Both teams checked well tonight. We did some good things out there, but it was a bounce away. We'll move on."
Edmonton, playing in its first postseason since eliminating the Ducks in five games in the 2006 Western Conference Final, took a 1-0 lead in this series, which continues Friday night in Anaheim.
"It's a good test," Getzlaf said. "We've dealt with it properly over the last little while. I expect nothing else from our group than to come to work and be ready for the next one."