EDMONTON - Another overtime, another heartbreak. In one of the most anticipated games of the season, and with first place on the line, the Ducks let a lead slip away in the final minutes of regulation before giving up the game-winning goal in sudden death in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place. The overtime loss also bumped Anaheim out of first place in the Pacific Division, which is now held by the Oilers. John Gibson was impressive in his return to the lineup, making 34 saves, but a costly turnover from Ryan Getzlaf in overtime ultimately led to the game-winning goal from Leon Draisaitl.
"It's not a good feeling, that's for sure," Getzlaf said, on his turnover in overtime. "It's my responsibility to take care of the puck. I turned too sharp and caught my foot. Those things happen. I have to live with it and go on tomorrow."
Getzlaf and Patrick Eaves scored for the Ducks, both coming on the power play, and the point earned pushed the club's point streak to 10 games (7-0-3, 17 points), but the disturbing trend of overtime losses continued.
"We didn't play 60 minutes of hockey tonight," said Getzlaf. "We sat back a lot in the first period. We played a good hockey team. They're fighting for their lives, too, but we have to be able to finish games like that."
Connor McDavid had a goal and a game-high three points in the win, which increased Edmonton's winning streak to five games. Cam Talbot only needed to make 16 saves for his 40th victory of the season.
"It stings because we take a penalty late in the third period," said head coach Randy Carlyle. "We didn't get the puck out along the wall and we take a lazy hooking penalty that basically forced the referee to call it. We have a couple opportunities to clear the puck on the penalty kill and we don't get it down the ice, and they score a goal there. Overtime hasn't been our friend this year. We slip and fall, give up a 2-on-1 and the game is over."
Gibson was tested early when McDavid streaked in all alone just 45 seconds into the game. With Hampus Lindholm on his heels, McDavid tried to deke Gibson, who managed to close off the near-side post to deny McDavid's jam attempt.
Anaheim's netminder came up big again with 12:37 remaining in the first period when he denied McDavid's chance in the crease off a nice backhanded pass from Patrick Maroon.
"He was outstanding, specifically in the first [period]," Carlyle said, on Gibson. "We didn't have much going. We were slow and off the mark."
Talbot was equal to the task at the other end of the ice when he made a dazzling glove save on Corey Perry's chip shot from just outside the crease. The sellout crowd roared in approval for Talbot, who was appearing in his league-leading 70th game of the season.
McDavid broke the scoreless tie when he sent a shot through a maze of players with 48.1 seconds remaining in the first period, giving him 29 goals and 92 points on the season. He finished off an impressive individual effort from Maroon, who dangled around Lindholm at the right faceoff dot, curled behind the net and found him alone in the high slot.
The Ducks answered back at the 3:27 mark of the middle frame on the power play, courtesy of a booming slap shot from Getzlaf at the right point. His shot made its way through traffic in front to even the score with Oilers forward Matt Hendricks serving a minor penalty for high sticking.
Video: ANA@EDM: Getzlaf blasts slap shot top shelf for PPG
The second period ended with a bang when Chris Wagner leveled Oilers defenseman Oscar Klefbom with a thunderous check that rattled the glass in front of the public address announcer.
Anaheim nearly took a 2-1 lead early in the third period when Kesler and Jakob Silfverberg came down on a 2-on-1 rush. Silfverberg's cross-ice pass to Kesler had Talbot down and out, but Kesler's shot clanged off the nearside post with authority keeping this a 1-1 game.
Just minutes later, the Ducks made it count on the power play when Eaves buried a beautiful feed from Antoine Vermette, who forced Talbot to make the first move. The goal gave Eaves six goals over his last seven games, along with 10 points (8g/2a) in 16 games with Anaheim.
Video: ANA@EDM: Eaves taps home Vermette's feed for PPG
Edmonton tied the game with 1:58 remaining in regulation when Milan Lucic buried a rebound past Gibson on the power play with Vermette in the box. Gibson made the initial stop on Draisaitl, but his kick save was pushed into a soft area outside the crease where Lucic was positioned.
The Oilers finished it off in overtime when Draisaitl buried a pass from McDavid on a 2-on-1 after Getzlaf blew a tire deep in the offensive zone.
Anaheim will close out its four-game road trip tomorrow night in Calgary. "We have to flush this one because we have a big one in Calgary," said Carlyle. "I expect the same type of game with the intensity and emotion on the ice and in the building."