In a seemingly must-win game, the Ducks stepped up and delivered.
Led by Jakob Silfverberg's two-goal, three-point performance, the Ducks' offense came alive in a 6-3 victory over the Edmonton Oilers in Game 3 to cut the series deficit to 2-1. John Gibson was lights out, stopping 24 shots for his fourth win of these playoffs, including several highlight-worthy saves in the second period. Rickard Rakell, Ryan Getzlaf, Chris Wagner and Ryan Kesler also scored for the Ducks, who jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the first period to stun the sold-out crowd at Rogers Place.
Hampus Lindholm finished with a game-high plus-5 rating and rookie Brandon Montour finished with a plus-4 rating, while Shea Theodore recorded his third multi-point game of the playoffs (two assists).
"We have to keep coming out with that mentality right off the bat," said Silfverberg. "You can't sit back and receive. You have to be the team pushing forward. That's what we did tonight. We came out with a 3-0 lead and played good hockey. Just keep pounding on them."
Patrick Maroon, Anton Slepyshev and Connor McDavid scored for the Oilers, who lost for the first time since Game 4 of the First Round against the San Jose Sharks. Cam Talbot was burned for all six goals against and finished the night with 22 saves.
The Ducks didn't waste any time getting on the board. Just 25 seconds into the first period, Rakell was sprung on a breakaway and beat Talbot with a wrist shot over the glove for the fastest goal from the start of a game in franchise playoff history. The play started when Getzlaf spotted Rakell sneaking behind the Oilers defense. In one sweeping motion, Getzlaf sent a crisp pass from his own goal line to Rakell's tape, and from there the 23-year-old Swede used a deceptive shoulder fake to get Talbot to drop his arm. The goal, Rakell's third of the playoffs, also gave him six points in seven games thus far.
Video: ANA@EDM, Gm3: Rakell nets breakaway 25 seconds in
Anaheim jumped out to a 2-0 lead when Silfverberg banged home a loose puck at the 5:33 mark of the first period. Lindholm was credited with the lone assist, as it was his shot from the point that hit traffic in front to allow Silfverberg a chance to send it across the stripe. With the goal, Silfverberg tied Kesler (11) for seventh on the all-time franchise playoff goals list. Furthermore, he passed Chris Pronger (30) for sixth on the all-time franchise playoff-scoring list.
Video: ANA@EDM, Gm3: Silfverberg slots home rebound in front
Already riding a wave of momentum, the lead became 3-0 when Getzlaf capitalized on a turnover committed by Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse. The physical d-man had time and space, but opted for a hard rim around the glass. Getzlaf used his body to keep the puck in the zone, skated in and went top shelf over Talbot for his fifth goal and ninth point of these playoffs.
Video: ANA@EDM, Gm3: Getzlaf picks the corner off turnover
The Oilers got one back when Ryan Nugent-Hopkins' deflection caught a piece of Maroon with 39.5 seconds remaining in the first period. The goal was briefly reviewed for high sticking, but the call on the ice stood.
Edmonton got another fortunate bounce 90 seconds into the middle frame when David Desharnais' wrist shot deflected into the air and caromed off Theodore and over Gibson's right shoulder.
McDavid brought the Oilers back with a wrist shot that beat Gibson clean over the left shoulder at the 8:40 mark of the middle frame. The goal came in four-on-four play after Lindholm and Milan Lucic were whistled for roughing penalties. After gaining possession of a turnover along the boards, McDavid circled above the left dot before making a hard cut towards the net. From there, McDavid unloaded a wrist shot that sent the sold-out crowd into pandemonium.
But the Ducks, resilient as ever, responded with a fortunate bounce of their own. Wagner's slap shot from the near boards caught the underside of Talbot's blocker to give the Ducks a 4-3 lead less than a minute after McDavid tied the game. It marked Wagner's first career playoff goal (and point) in 11 career games.
Video: ANA@EDM, Gm3: Wagner beats Talbot with tricky slapper
Gibson saved his best work from the 10-minute mark of the second period on. First, he made a point-blank stop on Maroon's one-timer as the Oilers came down on a 3-on-1. Minutes later, Gibson came up huge again when he was forced to make two desperation saves - including a lunging left-pad stop - as his teammates in front of him were running on fumes.
Video: ANA@EDM, Gm3: Gibson denies Oilers' three-on-one
"We're playing a quality hockey club in their own barn," said Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle. "They aren't going to turn over and give you the hockey game after one period. Our response was important. The Wagner goal gave us a 4-3 lead. We managed to get to the break and tried to convince our group that it was time to regroup."
Silfverberg responded 4:56 into the third period when he was allowed time and space to unload a wrist shot uncontested in the slot. The goal was challenged by Oilers head coach Todd McLellan for a potential offsides call when Silfverberg dragged his foot across the blueline as Theodore carried it into the zone. After a lengthy review, the call on the ice stood, giving the Ducks their fifth goal of the game.
Video: ANA@EDM, Gm3: Silfverberg pads lead with second goal
The shutdown line came through once more, this time with under 10 minutes remaining in regulation when Kesler buried a loose puck past Talbot's left pad to make it 6-3. Kesler managed to corral the shot, which hit him in the back, and tuck it past Talbot to place him in a tie with Andy McDonald (12) for sixth on the all-time franchise playoff goals list.
Video: ANA@EDM, Gm3: Kesler bangs home puck at the doorstep
The Ducks locked down the final half of the period to seal the win, keeping their playoff road record perfect (3-0).
With two full days before Game 4, the Ducks will depart for Kelowna, British Columbia immediately following the game.
"We came out and executed properly in the first period," said Getzlaf. "We did a lot of good things. We got rewarded on a few of them. It was about coming out in this building. Tough atmosphere to play in."