The Edmonton Oilers ended a four-game winless skid Thursday night at Rogers Place by outlasting the Anaheim Ducks 2-1 in a shootout.
“Some of the small things we worked on in practice showed up in the game tonight. I thought the commitment level was high enough to win an NHL game defensively,” Oilers head coach Todd McLellan said.
“The players responded well. They weren’t pleased with the results of the last two games, not one bit. They wanted to come up with a good effort and they did that, now let’s build off of that as we head out on to the road.”
“These games are important, especially divisional games,” Oilers captain Connor McDavid added. “We’ve always said that all along. It’s nice to get the win and the extra point and well take some confidence now and head out on the road.”
The Oilers outshot the Ducks 13-2 in the first period but couldn’t get a puck by John Gibson. He denied Anton Slepyshev from in tight with just over seven minutes to go. Milan Lucic worked in close on an Oilers power play a few minutes later but flipped a shot just wide.
Kris Russell opened the scoring at 11:58 of the second period. He joined an odd-man rush and converted a pass from Connor McDavid. It was the Oilers’ first goal since late in their overtime loss to Chicago, a span of 153:43. With the assist, McDavid ended a three-game pointless drought, the longest of his career.
Late in the second period, Lucic was slapped with a debatable slashing penalty. The Ducks scored on the power play 18 seconds into the third thanks to a deflection by Ryan Kesler.
With only 5.2 seconds left in the third, Antoine Vermette was called for high-sticking McDavid, but the Oilers couldn’t score on the power play.
The Oilers went on the power play again for the last 21.9 seconds of overtime when Cam Fowler was called for slashing Darnell Nurse. Leon Draisaitl had a chance on a one-timer with two seconds left but fired it wide.
Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf wasn’t a big fan of the calls that went against his team near the end of the game.
“I go into corner and take nine times the beating that some of the guys are taking and they don’t call penalties, and it’s just a matter of what they want to see and it’s not the referees’ fault. It’s just the way the leagues going now,” Getzlaf shrugged.
“They want all of this little nickle and dime stuff called all the time and it’s frustrating as players because we’re trying to produce, we’re trying to play and you end up getting three or four power plays in the last five minutes of the game. That’s not right.”
In the shootout, McDavid and Ryan Getzlaf both missed. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Rickard Rakell both scored. Nugent-Hopkins picked the corner on Gibson, then Jakob Silfverberg hit the post for the Oilers to win it.
During the game, the Oilers announced they had acquired goalie Al Montoya from Montreal for a conditional fourth-round draft pick.
“It was something that we thought we needed to provide our group a while ago, but it just doesn’t happen overnight,” McLellan said, responding to the acquisition of Montoya. “For a couple [of] reasons: Cam’s workload and two LB’s development.”
“We’ve put ourselves in a situation now where Cam is going to play a ton of hockey and a young goaltender isn’t going to get as much as we originally thought he would at the start of the year.”
“We’ll figure out what we’re going to do with LB once Montoya comes off IR, which should be very soon.”
The Oilers (18-20-3) start a five-game road trip Saturday in Dallas.
With files from Brenden Ulrich.
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