Hampus Lindholm had a little fun in advance of the Ducks' fifth annual Social Media Night, asking followers of his Instagram account to choose his gameday tie from a choice of three designs. The orange tie won in a landslide, and Lindholm sported it on his way into Honda Center tonight, continuing to embrace the evening with a career-best three-point game in a 4-3 victory over the Edmonton Oilers.
Lindholm had a goal and two assists as the Ducks (39-23-11) won for the sixth time in the last eight games and pulled two points in front of Edmonton for second place in the tight Pacific Division. Meanwhile, Anaheim crept to within two of first-place San Jose with nine regular season games remaining in a quest to win a fifth straight division title.
"You knew it was going to be a tough game because it was going to be a playoff-type game," Lindholm said. "Those are the games you want to play."
The Ducks scored three unanswered after an early hole, and captain Ryan Getzlaf had a trio of assists, improving to fourth in the NHL with 48 on the season. "We weren't very happy with our first period, but the team responded like we wanted to," Getzlaf said. "We kept pushing.
We did a better job of maintaining our attitude throughout the game. We're not getting carried away in certain situations like we have in the past. We've learned as we've gone along."
Seemingly cruising to victory with a two-goal lead in the third, the Ducks made it interesting by taking two quick penalties and finding themselves on the wrong side of a two-man advantage with a little more than a minute left. Edmonton scored on a one-timer by Mark Letestu with 8.0 seconds left, but it was too little too late, as Ryan Kesler won the ensuing faceoff before the final seconds ticked off.
The Ducks twice washed out one-goal Edmonton leads in the first period, as an early Leon Draisaitl tally was countered by Anaheim's Patrick Eaves, who snuck a shot under goalie Cam Talbot from the right wing.
Video: EDM@ANA: Eaves squeezes a wrist shot by Talbot
Edmonton wunderkind Connor McDavid came back with a goal a minute later, but Lindholm made it 2-2 near the end of the first by banging in a nice feed from good friend and fellow Swede Rickard Rakell.
Video: EDM@ANA: Lindholm, Rakell connect to tie the game
"Our first period wasn't our best, but we came out with a lot of speed in the second period and went after them," Lindholm said. "That's the hockey we want to play for 60 minutes."
Josh Manson gave the Ducks their first lead early in the middle session, stickhandling into the slot on the rush and sniping a shot past Talbot.
Video: EDM@ANA: Manson goes up high to beat Talbot
Anaheim made it three straight goals and a 4-2 game on Rickard Rakell's 32nd, and maybe the most impressive, of the season. Rakell undressed defenseman Kris Russell with two deke moves before burying a shot inside the right post. It was remarkably Rakell's 10th goal in the last 12 games, and it chased Talbot to the bench for backup Laurent Brossoit.
Video: EDM@ANA: Rakell stickhandles, roofs home wrist shot
"Getzy made a great play in the neutral zone," Rakell said. "I tried to make a play to beat the defender and it worked."
Brossoit made a number of huge saves, and was bailed out by a couple shots off the post, as Anaheim came within a whisker of taking a three-goal lead on a number of occasions.
"We didn't have a good first period, but we changed our attitude from the second period on," said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle. "We ground it out. There were some big plays by individuals to keep it that way."
The Ducks will look to keep it going two nights from now when they take on Winnipeg at Honda Center.
"We're going to have to play a stiffer brand of hockey as we go forward," Carlyle said, "against the teams we're going to meet."