By Aaron Francis
The Ducks and Oilers continued their second round series in Edmonton. The Oilers had a 2-1 series lead entering game 4. Last game the Ducks got back into the series taking game 3 in a 6-3 victory. To start game 4 John Gibson was in goal for Anaheim and Cam Talbot went in net for Edmonton.
Coming off such a strong performance in game 3 the Ducks momentum did not carry into the start of this game. Edmonton was buzzing early this game and dominated the first period. John Gibson had to be strong early as he faced many tough chances. Despite getting two power plays in the period, Anaheim couldn’t set up many strong offensive chances. A huge turning point in the period was when the Ducks took a Too Many Men penalty. The Oilers wasted no time setting themselves up in the Ducks zone and it would be Milan Lucic who got the puck off a Ducks stick and scored 1-0 Oilers. Here momentum was all Edmonton and they were able to add another goal as Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid went on a 2-on-1 beating Shea Theodore as McDavid put the puck in the back of the net, 2-0 Oilers. Anaheim’s woes weren’t done as Sami Vatanen would take a tripping penalty late that carried over into the next period. Shots were 16-10 Edmonton at the end of the first.
Anaheim responded this period and put together a strong offensive performance. The Ducks killed the remainder of the carry over the penalty and were back to even strength. The Ducks established an offensive sequence early and Ryan Getzlaf scored with Corey Perry screening Talbot. Edmonton would challenge the play for goalie interference from Perry but the goal would stand 2-1 Oilers. The Ducks continued their offensive push and just a few minutes later as the Ducks top line went to work and a Getzlaf pass resulted in Rickard Rakell scoring for Anaheim, 2-2 tie. The two teams exchanged chances and looked to be going towards a tie to end the period but as the final five minutes approached the Ducks would take the lead. The Oilers defense had the puck taken from them by Ryan Getzlaf who quickly fired it past Cam Talbot, 3-2 Ducks. The Ducks fired 21 shots in the second period providing enough goals to gain the lead. Shots at the end of the second were 31-21 Anaheim.
The Ducks buckled a bit this period allowing Edmonton to get back into the game and force overtime. The first ten minutes of the period the Ducks played a reserved game working to maintain the one-goal lead. Chances were back and forth and the game wasn’t too open for opportunities. However, after the halfway mark of the period, the Oilers began their push to force overtime. They peppered John Gibson with shots forcing him to make several great saves. A late face-off infraction by Antoine Vermette forced the Ducks into a tough spot, needing a penalty kill. Anaheim managed this feat but not long after Edmonton pulled their goalie Drake Caggiula scored his first ever playoff goal to even up the score, 3-3 tie. Shots at the end of regulation were 38-32 Anaheim.
The overtime period came and went in a flash as the Ducks scored an early goal to win the game. From the face-off, the Oilers got the puck in the Ducks zone for a shot attempt that didn’t make it to the net. The Ducks got the puck through the neutral zone and into Edmonton’s zone where Ryan Getzlaf was able to free the puck along the boards and find a wide open Jakob Silfverberg who fired home the game-winning goal, 4-3 Ducks. The final shot total was 39-32 Anaheim.
Despite having a weak start to the game, Anaheim showed why they won the Pacific Division and why they deserve to be in the playoffs. They came into Edmonton down two games to none and will return home with a tied series. With home ice regained, the Ducks put themselves in a great spot to take the series lead next game in Anaheim.
The Ducks Captain Ryan Getzlaf played an outstanding game, factoring into all four Ducks goals. The amount of confidence he is playing with allows his teammates to follow his example and also find success this postseason. The Ducks can take so many positives from these past two games and work them into their game plan for game 5 as they look to get their first win on home ice this series.
Ryan Getzlaf scored his 36th career playoff goal and passed Teemu Selanne for the team record for most playoff goals.
Jakob Silfverberg scored his 7th goal of the playoffs and has a goal in every game this series.
Ondrej Kase did not return to the game and has been listed with a lower-body injury.
The Ducks will continue this series against the Oilers back in Anaheim as game 5 takes place on Friday at 7:30 pm PST.
Check out the highlights from the Ducks win!
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