Before the lockout many Ducks fans had a date circled on their calendar for when the Oilers were going to be coming to town. That date got pushed back, but fans nonetheless were ready and waiting for Edmonton rookie, Justin Schultz.
Schultz was drafted by the Ducks in 2008 and he played for the University of Wisconsin. He played so well that the Ducks traded away another top prospect in Jake Gardiner to re-acquire Francois Beauchemin. Then Schultz left the Ducks in a lurch and took advantage of a loophole in the collective bargaining agreement that gave him free agency.
Sign with the Ducks? Nope. Chose Edmonton. And in doing so, he also chose to endure the wrath and fury of Ducks fans who are a bit elephantine in their inability to forget things (think Paul Kariya).
Schultz finally got to visit the Honda Center in a professional capacity on Monday and currently is on a team who is on the outside looking in when it comes to a playoff spot. The Ducks? Solidified their #2 position in the Western Conference with a 2-1 defeat of the Oilers.
So how's that free agency thing working out for you these days, Justin?
Were it not for goaltender Devan Dubnyk, who made 36 saves, the game would not have been nearly as close as the results would lead one to believe.
Radek Dvorak seemed to be the only one who could solve Dubnyk, and he did so twice. The first goal came at 17:21 of the first period on a big fat juicy rebound that Dubnyk could not control. The second came at 7:48 of the third period to be the eventual game winner.
“It was a great play by our whole line,” said Dvorak of linemates Daniel Winnik and Saku Koivu. “I just happened to be in a good spot. We were putting pucks on the net, and he was leaving nice big rebounds. Like I said, I was just in the right spot in the right time.”
Nick (no relation to Justin) Schultz put in a softie behind Jonas Hiller at 1:12 of the third period, giving the previously lifeless Oilers a little pep and movtivation.
Fortunately for Hiller, he did not let in any more shots, including a late attempt by Justin Schultz when Dubnyk was pulled for the extra attacker. Dvorak getting that second goal sure helped, too.
The Ducks were able to hold on for the win, leaving them thisclose from clinching a playoff spot.
"The most important thing is we got two points tonight, playing against a team like Edmonton," commented Dvorak. "We knew they would be coming hard. They have a lot of talent on that team, desperate for points. We were expecting a lot of pressure and I think we handled it really well."
In other notes: Ryan Getzlaf missed his third game with a leg injury, but is expected to play on Wednesday night against Colorado. Sheldon Souray also sat out the game on Monday night with soreness.