ANAHEIM, Calif. — All good things must come to an end.
For the Anaheim Ducks, their 5-3 loss to the Edmonton Oilers sees their four game playoff win streak come to a halt, and hands the team their first loss in regulation since March 10.
“There were a couple fluky goals, couple of breakdowns and an empty netter,” said Cam Fowler. “Credit to them, they took advantage of their opportunities tonight.”
Those opportunities came on the power play. Anaheim gave the Oilers five opportunities to cash in with the extra man. They did so twice.
“When we’re giving five power plays a night to them, it’s hard to kill,” said Ryan Getzlaf. “Our PK’s got to do a little bit better job. We’ve got to work together a little bit better, and we’ll find ways to shut down their power play.”
“Our penalty killing let them take some of the emotion and momentum in the hockey game and put it in their favor,” added head coach Randy Carlyle.
Midway through the third period the Oilers held the most dangerous lead in hockey, 3-1. Anaheim scored two goals in 90 seconds to tie the game.
Then with less than five minutes to go, Adam Larsson banked his second goal of the night off of Anaheim defenseman Josh Manson.
The goal would stand as the game winner.
“We had resiliency, but we made a mistake on the winning goal,” said Carlyle. “We didn’t have our position in the neutral ice. There is no way we should allow Larsson to skate from the top of his circle into our zone unimpeded. There should have been a second layer just past the red line and we fell back and gave him the necessary room.”
Ryan Getzlaf echoed his coach, “In the neutral zone we didn’t execute the way we’re accustomed to doing. They shouldn’t have that much space.”
The Ducks at this point were playing with only five defensemen. Kevin Bieksa sustained a lower-body injury in the second period. Carlyle stated Bieksa would be re-evaluated on Thursday morning.
Anaheim knew their 15-0-3 regulation win streak had to come to an end at some point. This is just a crappy way for it to go.
“In reality, we really couldn’t think we could win every game, said Carlyle. “We’ve had so much success … it stings because it’s a playoff game and we battled back and had a lead in it. Those are the positives you’re going to try to build on, but we’re going to need more from our group for the next game. Simple as that.”
“Now we have to make sure that the next game we play is the most important game of the year.”
That next game comes on Friday. And if Wednesday’s game was any indication of what’s to come, it’s going to be physical.
Right before the clock hit zero, the two teams engaged in some funny business they’re not bound to forget.
According to Getzlaf, it’s no big deal.
“That’s normal,” said Getzlaf. “They went after [Ryan Kesler] a little bit. I’m sure that’s a response or whatever. Just the way the game goes. It’s nothing.”
We’ll see about that.