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Penalty kill woes continue for Ducks against Oilers

Anaheim allows two power-play goals in Game 1 loss

by Dan Arritt / Correspondent

ANAHEIM -- The Anaheim Ducks' penalty kill continues to be their Achilles heel in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Ducks allowed two more power-play goals in a 5-3 loss to the Edmonton Oilers in Game 1 of the Western Conference Second Round at Honda Center on Wednesday.


[RELATED: Complete Oilers vs. Ducks series coverage]


Anaheim was 10-for-16 on the penalty kill in the first-round series against the Calgary Flames, a deficiency that was easy to overlook because of the four-game sweep.

Game 2 of this best-of-7 series will be played at Honda Center on Friday (10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports).

"I think we did a good job in the series against Calgary, staying focused and patient, and maybe tonight we took one too many [penalties]," said Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg, who was serving a holding penalty when Mark Letestu scored his second power-play goal of the game. "We gave them too many opportunities and, going forward, that's something we need to correct."

The Ducks had one of the better penalty-kill units during the regular season, finishing fourth in the NHL at 84.7 percent. But through five playoff games, their penalty-kill rate is 61.9 percent.

"We're giving five, six power plays a night, and it's hard to kill," Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf said. "Our PK has got to do a little bit better job. We have to work together a little bit better and we'll find ways to shut down their power play."

The Ducks took a 1-0 lead 37 seconds into the second period on a power-play goal by Getzlaf, but forward Nick Ritchie went to the penalty box for holding Oilers defenseman Oscar Klefbom at 4:39. Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm followed 66 seconds later after high-sticking Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl.

Video: EDM@ANA, Gm1: Getzlaf rips a wrist shot for PPG

Letestu scored his first goal of the game on the ensuing 5-on-3 to make it 1-1.

"Our penalty killing let them take some of the emotion and the momentum in the hockey game and put it in their favor," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said.

The game remained tied entering the third period, and Silfverberg went to the penalty box at 4:42 for holding Oilers center Connor McDavid when he tried to beat Silfverberg down the right side through the offensive zone. Letestu again scored on the power play, hitting the wide open side of the net after a centering pass from Draisaitl got between two defenders.

"Credit [the Oilers], they took advantage of their opportunities tonight," Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler said. "We scored three goals, which should be enough to win in the playoffs. We were a little sloppy defensively and gave them too many opportunities on the power play."

The Ducks trailed 3-1 in the third period but rallied to tie the game. Carlyle said the Ducks' biggest defensive breakdown occurred on the go-ahead goal by defenseman Adam Larsson that gave the Oilers a 4-3 lead with 4:40 remaining.

Larsson nearly went end-to-end, beating Ducks forward Patrick Eaves through the neutral zone and then getting around Fowler before banking a shot that went off defenseman Josh Manson's skate and past goalie John Gibson.

"We made a mistake on the winning goal, which is the one that sticks in your head as a coach, because we didn't have our position in the neutral ice," Carlyle said. "There's no way that we should allow Larsson to skate from the top of his circle into our zone unimpeded. There should have been a second layer just at the red line, and we fell back and gave him the room that was necessary."

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