ANAHEIM, CA -
The Oilers got off to a great start but couldn’t hold on as a flurry of first period goals by both teams gave Anaheim the lead and an added boost as they ended up rolling to a 5-2 win over the visiting Edmonton squad on Friday night.
“If we’re going to spend almost a full period in the box, it’s going to be a rough night," said Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins. "It leaves your best players on the bench and you are not getting much offence that way. I thought it just killed our momentum, even though our PK and our goalie Bryz at least kept us in it by killing them off.”
It didn't take long for the Oilers to get on the board, Boyd Gordon picked up the puck in front of the Ducks net and backhanded it past Hiller to open the scoring. The goal came on a delayed penalty as some strong forechecking by Edmonton got the Ducks in some trouble.
Unfortunately, the lead was short-lived. 11 seconds later, Kyle Palmeiri intercepted a Ryan Nugent-Hopkins clearing attempt then drove hard to the net before he fired it past Bryzgalov and tied the game up.
“It was a little stunning behind the bench. It was great to get that first one and then for them to come right back it took the wind out of our sails a little bit," Eakins remarked.
The Oilers take the game's first penalty about three minutes in when Andrew Ference was sent off for holding. Just as that penalty expired, Edmonton got called for having too many men on the ice, giving the Ducks their second man advantage of the night.
After killing off that penalty as well, the Oilers struck to make it 2-1.
Nail Yakupov picked up the puck in the corner and drove hard to the net. On the second attempt, it found its way through the legs of Hiller and in to put the Oilers back in the lead.
With 2:48 to play, Ben Lovejoy blasted a drop pass from Saku Koivu at the right pony past Bryzgalov to pull the Ducks back on even terms once again.
Lovejoy made it 3-2 for Anaheim with another one-timer from nearly the exact same spot with 4.4 seconds to go in the opening frame.
“It was a bit of a crazy first period, back and forth. Their second and third goals were almost identical. The same guy, the same place," Eakins stated. "On the first one, Bryz was screened. On the second one, I thought we had pretty good coverage. We had five guys below the puck and we were just a split second late in getting there.”
Shots on goal after one period were 16-10 for the Ducks.
Oilers ran into some penalty trouble in the second period. It started when Ryan Jones was sent off for slashing, giving the Ducks their fourth power play of the night. Then, with 10 seconds left in the Jones penalty, Ference clipped Mathieu Perreault with a high stick to send Anaheim on a brief two-man advantage.
Oilers were able to kill off both penalties. Anaheim was 0-for-5 with the man advantage and Edmonton had yet to receive a power play through the first 35 minutes of the game.
With 43.9 seconds to go, Tim Jackman received a feed from Tim Bonino, who was behind the Oilers net. Jackman made no mistake, backhanding it in to give the Ducks a two-goal lead.
A Boyd Gordon penalty 20 seconds later sent Anaheim on the power play for the sixth time.
Shots on goal after two were 30-13 Anaheim (14-3 in the period).
Five minutes into the third period, Taylor Hall received four minutes for high sticking but again the Oilers penalty killers came up big and were able to kill it off.
With 8:44 to play in the third, Andrew Cogliano broke in all alone after blocking a shot attempt. His wrist shot beat Bryzgalov to make it a three-goal gap
Eakins did say that there were some positives to take out of the game.
“For me, the positives in the game were our penalty kill holding us and I thought Yak made some great strides tonight. I thought he had a good game. He was really trying to play the way that we’re promoting here.”
He also added that he felt the team's top line didn't play well again, for the second consecutive night.
“The thing that got away from us, the last two games, is our best players had rough nights. You’re not going to play 82 games at the very top of your game though that should be your goal," he said. "When our best guys aren’t our best guys we’re going to have real trouble winning the game and I know those guys will regroup for our next one."