Don’t feel bad. The Anaheim Ducks are a really good hockey team. Hopefully the young kids called up to play for the Oilers were taking notes.
Whereas the Oilers are trying to win hockey games, the Ducks are working on playing perfect hockey games. Earnest but sloppy play by the Oilers earned them very little as the Ducks played with cold precision.
Taylor Hall was back at full Hall gusto, but frustration only got the better of him. The refs got in his way, literally and figuratively, and eventually he would smack talk a ref only to be thrown in the box for unsportsmanlike conduct. Despite his uncanny ability to generate offence, he was unable to generate anything on the scoreboard.
And the Ducks were not there to mess around. The Ducks looked as though they are building momentum for the playoffs and fine tuning the details, such as capitalizing on Oiler mistakes. They took few penalties and never took their foot off the gas.
Prior to the game the Oilers called up ECHLer Tyler Bunz as Baron call-up Richard Bachman is home after a family member’s passing. However Ben Scrivens played the game through in net.
Anaheim Ducks centre Ryan Kesler was also out with an injured elbow.
From the get-go the Oilers repeatedly ran face first into an efficient Ducks squad that turned them away over and over again. Whenever the Oilers made a mistake it was routinely converted into at least a shot on net, if not a goal.
And wouldn’t you know it? The first shot on Scrivens goes in after a terrible line change by the Oilers. (Luke Gazdic inparticular is guilty of chucking the puck in the general direction of Jordan Eberle who was surrounded by Ducks, and then skating away from the play).
At 14 minutes in, Taylor Hall almost had a breakaway but the referee was in his way at the blueline. This would be the beginning of a touchy relationship between Hall and the officials tonight.
Then halfway through the first Justin Schultz fumbled the puck behind the net, which is pounced on by Jakob Silfverberg who makes a quick pass to Nate Thompson and in. Schultz was booed by Anaheim fans everytime he touched the puck this night, presumably for opting to sign with Edmonton over Anaheim.
Even though there was never a great difference in the number of shots between the two teams, the Oilers looked in trouble as early as the first intermission.
Nail Yakupov and Derek Roy kicked off the second period on the right direction. Yakupov dangled his way into the zone, fed it to Derek Roy who looked like he was trying to find Teddy Purcell with a pass, but Purcell looked like he was expecting a rebound and the pass sailed through the crease.
Later Taylor Hall gets a near breakaway but was handcuffed by James Wisniewski who got a hooking penalty. It was very nearly a penalty shot but unfortunately it was not to be. This only turned into a short-handed two-on-one for the Ducks that was broken up by Justin Schultz.
Halfway through the second, Taylor Hall lips off a referee on his way back to the bench and is handed an unsportsmanlike conduct by another official.
The Ducks pick up two more goals in the second period. One off a Corey Perry-Ryan Getzlaf two-on-one. The other after Andrew Cogliano out hustles the Oilers in the corners to get the puck to Simon Despres for a big slapshot.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nate Thompson were later handed strange penalties for sort of falling over or whatever and the game goes to a four-on-four. This led to a breakaway for the Ducks’ Kyle Palmieri. Ben Scrivens made a key toe save and then on the way back Jordan Eberle found Ryan Nugent-Hopkins fresh out the box who made no mistake.
In the third period, Nikita Nikitin got caught pinching forward resulting in a breakaway for Andrew Cogliano. A helpless Oscar Klefbom slashed his stick and Cogliano was awarded a penalty shot. He jammed it in the top shelf with a real beauty.
There wasn’t a major difference in shots between the two teams - Oilers 23 and Ducks 27. Each team wound up with a Corsi For of 44 each. However there was a big difference in execution. I’d be interested to see how much time each team spent in their respective offensive zones. I suspect the Ducks spent a lopsided amount of time in the Oilers end running systems and winning battles.
16:17 DUCKS GOAL Francois Beauchemin, assisted by Jakob Silfverberg, Hampus Lindholm Picked off Eberle, off a bad change by Gazdic. First shot against Scrivens. 1 - 0 Ducks
10:01 DUCKS GOAL Nate Thompson, assisted by Jakob Silfverberg. Justin Schultz over-skates the puck behind the net. Silverberg puts it out quickly to Thompson and in. 2 - 0 Ducks
Shots Oilers 7 - Ducks 7
14:46 DUCKS PENALTY James Wisniewski hooking drawn by Taylor Hall. Hall blows by Wisniewski and Wisniewski handcuffs him in front of the net. Almost a penalty shot but not.
11:27 DUCKS GOAL Corey Perry. Oilers turnover puck in the neutral zone leading to a Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf two-on-one. Aulie slides to break up the pass but it bounces back to Perry in front of the net who taps it in. 3 - 0 Ducks.
10:51 OILERS PENALTY Taylor Hall Unsportsmanlike Conduct. Appears he is yelling at a ref as he leaves the ice and another official calls him on it.
7:54 DUCKS GOAL Simon Despres assisted by Andrew Cogliano, Jakob Silfverberg. Oilers hemmed in their own zone. Cogliano wins battle in the corner and gets it over to Despres who slaps it in. 4 - 0 Ducks
5:02 PENALTIES Ryan Nugent-Hopkins tripping, Nate Thompson embellishment. Four-on-four
2:55 OILERS GOAL Ryan Nugent Hopkins assisted by Jordan Eberle 4 - 1 Ducks
Shots Oilers 11 - Ducks 12
14:46 DUCKS PENALTYSHOT GOAL Andrew Cogliano. Oscar Klefbom slashes his stick on the breakaway. 5 - 1 Ducks
10:05 DUCKS PENALTY Cam Fowler crosschecking against Matt Fraser
00:40 DUCKS PENALTY Rickard Rakell holding drawn by Brandon Davidson
Shots Oilers 5 - Ducks 8
Total shots 23 - 27
The Oilers head over to Los Angeles to face the Kings at 8:30 pm GMT tomorrow night. In Don Cherry voice: Hey you kids playing defence for the Oilers, take a look at Drew Doughty and Jake Muzzin. That’s how you get it done.
"If you're not sharp against a team like this, they're going to take advantage." @RNH_93, tied career high tonight with 56th point— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) April 2, 2015
Scrivens maaaad. He just pushed Hall at the bench.— Chris (@Ducks54) April 2, 2015