By: Matthew Garcia / Michael Walters
Last night was the final game of the western conference semi-finals between the Edmonton Oilers and Anaheim Ducks. The Oilers enter the contest riding the momentum after a decisive 7-1 victory over the Ducks in game six, it is a do-or-die situation for both teams and the winner will take on the Nashville Predators in the western conference finals. The starting goaltenders would be John Gibson for Anaheim and Cam Talbot for Edmonton.
The Oilers would get off to a quick start, similar to previous games they would be the team to strike first as Drake Caggiula would put pressure on defenseman Shea Theodore and the puck would find its way behind Gibson to give Edmonton a 1-0 lead just 03:31 into the opening period of play. After the opening goal from the Oilers it would be all Ducks as they would register the next 5 shots on goal, one that many thought was the equalizing goal but was whistled down as it was offsides. Anaheim would begin laying the boom as Jared Boll would put Eric Gryba into the photobooth bringing some of the fans to their feet. (Maybe Gryba should have waited on that cooked Duck he ate after Game 6). Ryan Getzlaf would follow suit and ride Oscar Klefbom hard into the boards. The Ducks would be the recipient of the first penalty of the game as Sami Vatanen took a hooking penalty at the 18:48 mark of the first period, and it proved to be a good penalty as Vatanen save what would’ve been a for sure goal and a 2-0 Edmonton lead. The first period horn would sound and the Oilers would take a 1-0 lead ino the first intermission and would begin the second period of play with a brief power play as the hooking minor to Vatanen would continue to be served.
The Ducks came out strong in the second period. They poured on the shots registering 16 to the Oilers three. Almost halfway through the period the Ducks tied up the game. Ryan Kesler got the puck at the side of the net and tried to throw it toward Talbot. The puck was deflected by an Oiler player’s skate and went to Andrew Cogliano, who took a weak shot on a net. The puck slowly slid by Talbot, who was already on his stomach, and went in the net. It wasn’t pretty, but it tied the game. The Ducks had several other chances in the period, but Talbot kept it a one goal game.
In the final period the teams played even battling hard back and forth. About three minutes into the period, Ryan Getzlaf would bring the puck in and try a give and go with Corey Perry. Perry’s return pass would miss, but instead go to Sami Vatanen. From the corner of the rink Vatanen made a pass to Nick Ritchie in the slot, who buried his shot between Talbot’s arm and body for the goal. The scored remained 2-1 Ducks until late in the period. The OIlers pulled their goalie in the final minutes of the game, but the Ducks held on for the victory and advance to the Western Conference Final against Nashville.
The Ducks erased a 2-0 deficit for the first time. They are the 49th team to do so. Teams are 49-311 all-time when trailing in a series 2-0.
A California-based team will play in the Conference Finals for the 8th consecutive season and 12th time in the past 14 seasons.
Ducks win their second Game 7 at home. The first time was during the 1997 playoffs against the Phoenix Coyotes. The Ducks are 2-4 in Game 7s at home and 3-6 all time.
Western Conference Final Schedule
- Game 1: May 12, 6 p.m., at Anaheim
- Game 2: May 14, 4:30 p.m., at Anaheim
- Game 3: May 16, 5 p.m., at Nashville
- Game 4: May 18, 5 p.m., at Nashville
- Game 5: May 20, 4:15 p.m., at Anaheim*
- Game 6: May 22, 5 p.m., at Nashville*
- Game 7: May 24, 6 p.m., at Anaheim*
Click below for video highlights of the Ducks big win!
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May 11th, 2017