The Edmonton Oilers defeated the Anaheim Ducks by a score of 7-3 on Thursday night. Seven players on the Oilers recorded two-point nights including Leon Draisaitl, who scored twice. Warren Foegele, Jesse Puljujarvi, Derek Ryan, Zach Hyman, and Evander Kane added the other markers.
Ryan McLeod and Connor McDavid were busy dishing the puck as they each posted two assists. Mike Smith was stellar in the Edmonton net, stopping 26 of the 29 shots he faced.
The Ducks came out with energy off the opening face-off. Troy Terry wasted no time in trying to add to his 25 goals with an in-close shot that was denied by Mike Smith. Terry would then turn around and take an offensive zone hooking call a few seconds later.
The Oilers would drum up some offence but would ultimately come up short with the advantage. Edmonton’s advantage would end in their disadvantage as Barrie got caught with a trip to send Anaheim to the power-play.
The Ducks wouldn’t pass on their chance as Adam Henrique tipped home a point shot from Cam Fowler. Ducks take the 1-0 lead with a PP goal.
Connor McDavid was particularly noticeable in the opening frame—more noticeable than recent I should say. The captain had three breakaways in quick succession, each of which was denied by John Gibson, who was sharp to start.
Darnell Nurse gave the Ducks a second chance on the power-play with another tripping call in the latter half of the period. Once again, Anaheim would take advantage with Trevor Zegras finding Sonny Milano in the slot for another tip that beat Smith. 2-0 Ducks.
The score might not have been too flattering for the Oilers but they were playing well. Edmonton was controlling the pace at even strength and had the majority of chances on net. Credit to Anaheim for taking advantage and finishing their chances.
Edmonton wouldn’t let themselves go down easy. Evander Kane wired an absolute snipe over the shoulder of Gibson to cut the lead in half. It was a 2-1 game at the buzzer.
The middle frame started off with a little controversy. Sam Carrick smacked at the puck a number of times in-tight on Smith. Carrick celebrated but, after a lengthy review, it was determined that the officials blew the whistle before the puck could’ve gone into the net.
Derek Ryan got the Oilers square on the ensuing shift as he tipped home Cody Ceci point shot. Edmonton battles back to knot things up at 2-2 with 15 minutes left in the period.
It didn’t take long for Edmonton to turn that tie into a lead as McDavid made a sweet backhand pass to Puljujarvi who had a wide-open cage. The big Finn actually whiffed on the shot but it went in anyway to give the Oilers a 3-2 lead with more than half the period still to play.
That wasn’t enough for the Oilers. Ryan McLeod sent a perfect pass to Leon Draisaitl on a 2-on-1 who tipped in his 34th of the year. Edmonton opened up the floodgates with four unanswered goals to give them a 4-2 lead.
Kailer Yamamoto nearly made it five unanswered goals as he received a cross-crease pass from McDavid, but Gibson was able to get across in time.
Jesse Puljujarvi left the Oilers bench shortly after scoring his goal. At the moment there wasn’t a clear reason as to why. It was later announced that he suffered a lower-body injury and he didn’t return to the game.
The goals would slow down in the latter stages of the period and would end with the Oilers leading 4-2 heading into the third period.
Edmonton started the period on the PK after McDavid was sent to the box at the end of the second. The Ducks were rolling on the PP up until this point, with their two goals coming with the man-advantage. The Oilers were able to buck this trend and kill it off.
Warren Foegele continued his hot streak with a goal early in the third period. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins came from behind the Ducks net and fed Foegele who wired a one-timer into an open net. Oilers have five consecutive goals and a 5-2 lead.
Trevor Zegras ended the one-sided goal parade with a sharp angle bank-shot that hit off Smith’s shoulder. 10 minutes to go and the Ducks are back within two at 5-3.
That wouldn’t sit well with Draisaitl as he picked off a Hampus Lindholm pass and walks in to whiz a wrist shot past Gibson. Draisaitl has the lead league in goals and restores Edmonton’s three-goal lead at 6-3.
Zach Hyman completed the touchdown a shift later as McDavid feeds him in the slot and unleashes a backhand over Gibson’s blocker. An astounding 7-3 lead for the Oilers.
- Jay Woodcroft has this team playing incredible hockey. They seem much more aggressive in breaking up opposing rushes and their transition game has been stellar. It is no coincidence that this team has suddenly started to play to their potential. A lot of people underestimate the importance of a good coach, which is the key difference between Dave Tippett and Woodcroft.
- Mike Smith had a pretty decent game tonight. The goals that got past him involved two tipped shots and an incredible bank-shot by Zegras. He wasn’t a world-beater but he didn’t need to be tonight.
- Special teams was an interesting factor in this one. I thought the Oilers ever-so-dangerous top unit had an off night but the second unit was cooking. Evander Kane’s first-period marker was imperative to inciting the comeback.
- Something has to be said about the third line of Foegele-RNH-Ryan. Those guys have been absolutely fantastic for the Oilers under Woodcroft. I remember earlier in the season saying something about good career bottom-six players struggling under Tippett once they get to Edmonton. I was expecting guys like Ryan and Foegele to get better in a new system...but not this quickly.
- Leon Draisaitl notched two goals...that’s on-brand for him. He absolutely owns the Anaheim Ducks.
- I will never say a bad word about Jesse Puljujarvi. He looked great tonight and we can only hope that his lower-body injury that caused him to miss the last period and a half isn’t that bad.
- Ryan McLeod is a player. He was all over the ice and made a couple of brilliant passes that led to goals. He came into the game with three assists all season. Play this man with some skill and he’ll produce.
- Has anybody noticed Cody Ceci suddenly becoming an offensive sparkplug under Woodcroft? He seems to be in at least one goal a game lately.
- The Oilers are suddenly biting at the heels of the Vegas Golden Knights for second place In the Pacific Division. They sit at 27-18-3 and 57 points, just two behind the Knights with a game in hand. The Calgary Flames sit in first place with 62. They’ll look to make up that ground this Saturday with a date with the Winnipeg Jets