EDMONTON - Adding Scott Niedermayer and Doug Weight to the lineup has jump-started the defending Stanley Cup champs.
Weight's goal with less than four minutes to play lifted the Anaheim Ducks to a 2-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night. He was sent in alone after taking a perfect pass from Bobby Ryan and beat goalie Mathieu Garon at 16:21 of the third period.
The veteran forward, acquired in a trade with St. Louis for Andy McDonald on Dec. 14, says his new team is playing with a ton of confidence - even when it trails in a game.
"The attitude on the bench when they scored was that it was simply a speed bump," Weight said of Edmonton's 1-0 lead. "We were more angry that we were outshooting them so bad and they get one seeing-eye deflection and have the lead. But we said on the bench, 'That's not going to beat us.' We weathered the storm and went to work."
Corey Perry scored to tie the game for the Ducks before Weight got the winner in the third. Four of Weight's five goals on the year have come against the Oilers, one of his former teams.
The Ducks (19-15-5) have picked up points in all five games since the return of Niedermayer, going 4-0-1 over that span.
"Obviously since Dougie came over and Scotty came back it's been really good," said Ducks captain Chris Pronger. "The distraction of what Scotty was going to do and what he wasn't going to do isn't there any more. Having a guy like that back and then adding Dougie for that second line as well, it certainly gave us a centre who has been able to produce all throughout his career."
Anaheim goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere agrees the Ducks are really starting to come together.
"We're playing much better than we were at the beginning of the season," he said. "I think we finally have our game together and have figured out what we need to win. Having Scott back really helps and you add a guy like Doug Weight and that makes for a strong team. We needed to get our game back if we wanted to be part of the playoffs and be successful again."
Marty Reasoner had the lone goal for the Oilers (16-19-3), who lost for the fourth straight time.
One of their biggest weaknesses this season has been their play at home, with an 8-11-1 record at Rexall Place.
"It's the thing that is keeping us out of the mix right now," said head coach Craig MacTavish. "Our inability to have success at home."
Added defenceman Sheldon Souray: "I think it's a matter of trying to be too fancy at home. We want to put on a show for our fans. But at the end of the day a good show is two points. That's what we have to learn. We're turning pucks over in critical times and it is coming back on us."
The best chance in a scoreless first period came just four minutes in, when Fernando Pisani rang a short-handed shot off the crossbar behind Giguere.
Anaheim had eight shots on Garon to four from the Oilers in the opening period.
Reasoner made it 1-0 at 4:32 of the second period when he tipped a point shot from defenceman Tom Gilbert past Giguere.
Anaheim evened it about eight minutes later as Todd Bertuzzi took the puck behind the goal-line and made a great feed to Perry in the crease. It was Perry's 20th goal of the season.
The Ducks led 15-11 on the shot clock after the second period.
Both teams return to the ice on Saturday as the Oilers visit Minnesota and the Ducks journey to Calgary.
Notes: Oilers forward Ales Hemsky missed the game with a knee injury. An MRI was taken on Hemsky's left knee on Thursday and he is believed to be day-to-day ... Oilers captain Ethan Moreau (bruised foot) skated with the team on Thursday and says he will be ready to go on Saturday. The rugged forward has suffered a string of injuries that have kept him out of the lineup since Oct. 2006 ... Ducks centre Samuel Pahlsson did not make the three-game post-break trip with the team, suffering from an abdominal strain ... Edmonton took three of four meetings from the Ducks this year.