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Oilers deal Ducks setback in quest for Pacific title

by Derek Van Diest

EDMONTON -- The Anaheim Ducks continued their trend of playing from behind Sunday night against the Edmonton Oilers despite scoring the game's opening goal.

Three unanswered second-period goals paced the Oilers to a 4-2 win against the Ducks at Rexall Place, preventing Anaheim from extending its one-point lead on the San Jose Sharks at the top of the Pacific Division standings.

Taylor Hall, David Perron, Justin Schultz and Jordan Eberle scored for the Oilers, who have won two in a row. It was Edmonton's first regulation win against Anaheim at home since Nov. 30, 2007.

"We're struggling finding ways to win hockey games right now," Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf said. "I thought we started a lot better than we have in the past and were in a hockey game. We let our emotions get the best of us a little bit there for a while, and I felt that was a little bit counterproductive, and that's our responsibility, me and [Corey Perry]."

Jakob Silfverberg and Perry scored for the Ducks, who have lost two straight. Anaheim has fallen behind by at least two goals in its past four games.

The Ducks have a game in hand on the Sharks. They'll play that game Monday against the Vancouver Canucks when they conclude their two-game trip to Western Canada before hosting the Sharks on Wednesday.

"We have four games left now and we have to win our fair share of them to finish in the first spot," Getzlaf said.

Goaltender Viktor Fasth made 34 saves for the Oilers in the win, beating his former team for the first time since being traded to Edmonton a day prior to the March 5 NHL Trade Deadline. Jonas Hiller stopped 24 shots for the Ducks.

"The guys played great in front of me tonight," Fasth said. "They cleared a lot of rebounds and blocked a lot of shots. It was a great team effort. Of course it is special to play against them and get the win. I have a lot of friends on that team and played for them for a year. But I am here now, and it is all about winning hockey games. It's two points, just like any other game.

"I think we played great defensively. We have been doing a really good job defensively the last three or four games. I think we are showing that we can play really good hockey."

Silfverberg opened the scoring 1:20 into the game, benefiting from a fortunate bounce in front of the net. Silfverberg's initial shot was stopped by Fasth, but the rebound bounced in off Oilers center Sam Gagner.

The Oilers tied the game on the power play at 6:17 of second period when Hall scored his 27th goal. The Oilers left wing was able to squeeze a shot from the side of the net through Hiller.

Perron, with his 27th goal, gave the Oilers the lead at 9:21, snapping a shot through Hiller from the faceoff circle. The goal came shorthanded as Ducks right wing Kyle Palmieri had just stepped out of the penalty box with the teams playing 4-on-4.

"I thought I played a pretty good first period, I made a couple of good saves, and then on their power play, I was cheating a little too much towards the middle," Hiller said. "I thought [Hall] was going for the backdoor [play]. It seems like right now, I can't get break and things hit me and go in. I have to find a way to stop those. It's the same thing with the second one, it bounces off a stick. Those bounces happen if you don't work hard enough or if you don't feel as comfortable as you want to."

Hiller has struggled of late for the Ducks. He gave up four goals on 17 shots in a 5-2 loss against the Nashville Predators on Friday following a three-game mental break. He admitted this has probably been the toughest stretch of his career.

"Normally, I feel pretty good finding my way, getting back into it," Hiller said. "I think there were some good things, especially early in the game, I made a couple of good saves. I have to build on that and try not to worry too much about it. I have to keep looking forward and take games as they come."

Schultz increased the Oilers lead to 3-1 at 16:38 of the second period, getting to the puck off a scramble in front and knocking it into the net before Hiller was able to cover it up with his pad.

The Ducks cut the lead to 3-2 when Perry scored his 42nd goal 25 seconds into the third period on the power play. Perry redirected a Getzlaf point shot past Fasth, with Patrick Maroon providing a screen in front.

Getzlaf came close to tying the game six minutes into the period on the power play, but his point shot hit the goal post behind Fasth.

Eberle scored his 27th goal into an empty net with 14 seconds left in the game.

"We played a solid game," Oilers coach Dallas Eakins said. "I think we played some better ones on the road trip. Coming back from a trip, there can be a road-trip hangover where that first game back isn't great. We didn't want to experience that. We tried to shorten our shifts early and get everybody into it. When you are a bit physical, that can awaken you. Our guys are supporting each other and sticking together."

The Oilers continue their season-ending homestand against the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday.

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