Ryan Getzlaf, returning to the line-up after missing two games with a sprained ankle, helped give the Ducks the boost they needed to defeat the Edmonton Oilers 7-3. The weekend road trip started off with a bland loss to the Calgary Flames, but Anaheim finished on a high note in Edmonton, winning a rare second game of a back-to-back series.
The Ducks needed those points to remain competitive in the standings and go into the Olympic break just two points out of a playoff spot. The majority of games remaining for the Ducks are at home, a place they currently have an 11 game winning streak going. That bodes well for the team, who needs every point they can get to have a chance this spring.
The game against Edmonton was also the final tune-up for eight Olympians on the Ducks roster. In an unexpected gesture, the Oilers recognized not only their own Olympic players, but also the Ducks players as well. Three of those Ducks will be representing Team Canada. Scott Niedermayer, Corey Perry and Getzlaf might have been the enemy on Sunday night, but come Tuesday, the Canadian faithful in the crowd will be rooting for those very same players to bring a gold medal home.
The Ducks Olympians made the most of their final game with Saku Koivu putting Teemu Selanne’s rebound into the net just 3:47 into the game to start the scoring. Selanne added another assist later giving Team Finland a goal and two assists.
Ryan Potulny, who had one of Edmonton’s two short-handed goals last Wednesday at the Honda Center, had a power play goal to tie up the game at 6:04.
Perry took back the lead with the next goal at 10:23, assisted by Getzlaf (and all of Canada breathed a sigh of relief). Niedermayer extended the lead on the power play to 3-1 at 5:31 of the second period, another assist by Getzlaf. It was one of four power play goals, but considering that Edmonton gave up 11 power play chances, some of those had to go in.
At the end of the second period, the Oilers gave the Ducks a wake-up call by scoring their third short-handed goal against the Ducks this season. Ethan Moreau got his second short-hander at 19:04 and suddenly the game was back within one goal.
The Ducks did not sit back in the third period. Getzlaf got the first of two power play goals at 5:27 and George Parros, the only non-Olympian to score for the Ducks, got his second goal of the season :39 seconds later. Parros’ goal went in the net off of Lubomir Visnovsky’s skate.
Visnovsky redeemed himself :43 seconds later by bringing the Oilers back within two goals, but that was all they could muster against the Ducks. Staying out of the penalty box might have helped.
The Ducks finished off with two more power play goals to add the icing on the cake with Getzlaf’s second at 16:58 and Bobby Ryan’s goal at 18:03. 7-3 Ducks, game over, two points in the standings.
Special note of praise to Oilers goaltender, Jeff Deslauriers. Normally allowing 7 goals is nothing to write home about, but Deslauriers still stopped 39. He had a lot of hard work to do, and did it well, despite what the final score said.
Now eight Ducks head to Vancouver, including Jonas Hiller, who had had 26 saves for the win, while the rest of the team headed home to enjoy two weeks off and prepare for the final stretch before the end of the regular season. They go into the break on a positive note, which is exactly what the Ducks needed.