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Oilers must move on after bitter Game 5 loss to Ducks

Connor McDavid, Edmonton have to shrug off adversity in order to extend series

by Tim Campbell @TimNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

ANAHEIM -- Edmonton Oilers coach Todd McLellan heard something that lightened his mood following a crushing loss Friday.

That was a remark from Oilers captain Connor McDavid after the Anaheim Ducks rallied with three goals in the final 3:16 of the third period and won 4-3 in the second overtime of Game 5 of the Western Conference Second Round at Honda Center.

The Ducks lead the best-of-7 series 3-2 with Game 6 at Rogers Place on Sunday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports).

"There's not much that can really be said right now," McDavid said after Game 5. "It [stinks]. But we'll be back here Wednesday [for Game 7]."

"You like when your leader says that," McLellan said before the Oilers traveled back to Edmonton on Saturday. "Now we've got to go out and do it."

Doing it -- extending the series -- will be the next test for a young team with little Stanley Cup Playoff experience. The Oilers navigated the ups and downs of the first round, defeating the San Jose Sharks in six games, and have seen wild swings of momentum and emotion against the Ducks, who have won the past three games after the Oilers won the first two.

"You'd like to have that experience with a different result," McLellan said. "That's pretty obvious."

Edmonton's leadership and the belief system that has been built through the regular season will now come to bear.

Video: EDM@ANA, Gm5: McDavid bats in PPG out of mid-air

"It hasn't gone our way throughout the season at certain points but we always responded," McLellan said. "And that's what the regular season is for, to build a base, not only a systematic and conditioning base, but a mental base, too, for these types of situations. We've been good in the playoffs responding, but not great. Great would mean we're up by one, not down by one."

The adversity Edmonton is facing has not clouded general manager Peter Chiarelli's view that the Oilers have progressed and grown.

"That was our objective this year," Chiarelli said. "I've seen a lot of it. It doesn't really feel great right now. I've seen resilience. These are trying times when you get games like [Friday] and Game 4 (also a 4-3 loss in overtime). A lot of growth.

"You see the younger guys playing under duress. You see them making a lot of plays and mistakes. And I know in two, three years I'm going to look back on this and say, 'That was great for us.' I know that. One hundred percent certain. It's just hard to make that determination now."

Among the reasons for that are two video reviews for goalie interference that have not gone Edmonton's way.

A goal by Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf 1:37 into the second period of Game 4 was upheld after a coach's challenge. Anaheim forward Rickard Rakell's goal that tied it 3-3 with 15 seconds left in the third period of Game 5 stood after a situation room review for goalie interference.

Video: EDM@ANA, Gm5: Rakell ties game with 15 seconds left

"There is a frustration level building but it's really not because anything the NHL hockey ops does," Chiarelli said. "It's not because of the process. It's because the calls have gone against us. And I know the process these guys go through and I have discussions after the fact with NHL hockey ops -- haven't had one yet based on [Friday] -- but we as GMs have voted this stuff in and there's a group that reviews these things and they came through with a ruling, and unfortunately the last two have gone against us."

Chiarelli has been on both sides of dramatic comebacks in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He was GM of the Boston Bruins when they rallied from down three goals in the third period to win 5-4 in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference First Round against the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2013.

"In the last three minutes [of Game 5 against the Ducks], maybe that was a series of unfortunate events … for no lack of effort," Chiarelli said. "It's tough. No lead is safe in this League; that's why it's an entertaining league.

"But it's tough to watch. Certainly I didn't see a real huge momentum change [Friday]. I saw us getting hemmed in in the last three minutes and for a number of reasons we couldn't get the puck out. It was a tough loss to take but these series, anything can happen as you've seen, so we just have to get back on our horse."

The Oilers have no choice. Game 6 will be their first elimination game of these playoffs.

McLellan said that reality is unlikely to cause him to resort to any extraordinary adjustments.

"We know what's at stake," he said. "You don't have to have a lot of experience to figure that out. You have to come and play. And the one thing that our players will be told and they need to understand is that you don't need to win two games tomorrow, you only have to win one. That's our goal. And we'll see what happens after that."

McLellan said Saturday there was no update on the status of defenseman Andrej Sekera, who left Game 5 at 5:51 of the first period after being hit along the boards by Getzlaf. Sekera did not return; he played three shifts and 1:54 before he was injured. 

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