Oh Canada……well, if nothing else the Anaheim Ducks can console themselves that they are done with Edmonton for the remainder of the season. The 4-2 loss to the Oilers was their third meeting in 10 days, only once getting a win.
Those are points the Ducks need if they want to make certain they stay on top of the Pacific Division. The Oilers may be at the bottom of the entire Western Conference (and the NHL, were it not for dismal Florida and Buffalo teams), but now that they have their goaltending stabilized, Edmonton is a dangerous, talented team.
Ironically, part of the goaltender stabilization is former Ducks goaltender, Viktor Fasth, who made 34 saves against the team that traded him just a couple months ago.
On Sunday, the Ducks figured out how to score first, with Jakob Silfverberg getting on the board just 1:20 into the game. Now Anaheim needs to know how to keep a lead and not squander it.
“I thought we started off well,” said Devante Smith-Pelly, who was just recalled from Norfolk. “We were dictating the play for the first 10-15 minutes. Then, the momentum seemed to switch.”
In a very chippy middle frame that saw three fights and a couple of misconducts, the Oilers scored 1, 2, 3. Tyler Hall, David Perron and Justin Schultz did the damage. The game winner went to Schultz, a truly despised character in Anaheim because he chose not to sign with the Ducks, as he led them to believe, but instead went to the Oilers. Hope he enjoys the post season golfing.
“We let our emotions get the best of us for a while,” said Ryan Getzlaf. “That was a little counterproductive.”
Jonas Hiller, who was less than stellar in his last start, did make up for it. At least initially. However, Hiller is now 6-9-3 during his current slump. Not the way the Ducks want to head into the postseason. They either need Hiller to be hot or Frederik Anderson to start (assuming Anderson can recover from a headache resulting from a Shea Weber slap shot to the head on Friday.)
Corey Perry got goal # 42 early in the third period, but one goal was as close as the Ducks came. Jordan Eberle’s empty netter just sealed the deal for Edmonton and continued to leave a door open for the San Jose Sharks to take over top spot in the division.
The Ducks can only hope that they are as successful in Vancouver as they were the last time they rolled into town to redeem themselves in the second of back to back games.
The question is, will they start Hiller or John Gibson, called up in Anderson’s absence?
“I’ll talk to the coaches and people and we’ll see what we’re doing,” said coach Bruce Boudreau. “I think Hiller’s really lacking in confidence, and once the first one went in, he was worried until he regained his composure.”
Go with Gibson. Can’t be any worse than Hiller of late.