Vatanen, Getzlaf lead Ducks to 4-2 win over Oilers
EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) Despite winning their sixth straight game, the Anaheim Ducks were upset they nearly gave up a three-goal lead.
Sami Vatanen and Ryan Getzlaf each had a goal and an assist as the league-leading Ducks beat the Edmonton Oilers 4-2 Friday night. Kyle Palmieri and Nate Thompson also scored as the Ducks won for the ninth time in 11 games.
The Ducks, however, allowed the Oilers to pull within a goal after taking a 3-0 lead early in the second period.
''If you look around the league, there are a lot of three-goal leads and two-goal leads where the other team catches up,'' Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. ''I think it's because it's difficult to keep your foot on the pedal for 60 minutes and just keep going and keep going. But it's something that hopefully before game 82 is done that we learn how to do.
''We're going to have to play 60 solid minutes if we make the playoffs.''
Getzlaf agreed that his team needs to work on putting teams away.
''If you want to be an elite team in this league you have to learn to just do it,'' he said. ''Regardless of what the situation is, we just have to do what we do and continue on. We're learning things, learning steps and hopefully our group can learn things from our last two games.''
Tyler Pitlick and Jeff Petry scored for the Oilers, who have lost three in a row and 14 of their last 15. Edmonton also dropped to 1-15-4 against Western Conference opponents this season.
''They are the best team in the league and for the most part I felt we played with them,'' Oilers forward Taylor Hall said. ''At the start of the second we gave them two Grade-A chances. I feel like I have said this eight times this year, but it was just a couple of shifts that killed us. It was tough to get those goals back.''
Anaheim started the scoring 5 minutes into the game as Vatanen skated in from the point on the power play and sent a wrist shot cleanly past Oilers goalie Viktor Fasth for his eighth goal of the season.
The Ducks came close to taking a two-goal lead 10 minutes later as Andrew Cogliano had Fasth beat, but his shot rang off the post.
Anaheim had 10 first-period shots, while the Oilers could only muster three on Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen.
The Ducks made it 3-0 with two goals just 44 seconds apart to start the second period.
Off the opening faceoff, Vatanen sent Palmieri in alone through a confused-looking Oilers defense and he made the most of the breakaway with his fifth of the year just 7 seconds in.
Palmieri said it was a set play that his team has been working on.
''We've been waiting to try it for a couple of games and lucky enough, (Ryan Kesler) won the face-off clean and Sami made a great pass and I was in all alone,'' he said. ''A lot of things have to happen in order for that play to work. We've tried it a couple of times before and something always seems to go wrong.''
Then, Rene Bourque dropped a pass to an uncovered Getzlaf, who cleanly beat Fasth at 51 seconds with a quick shot for his ninth goal and 31st point.
Ben Scrivens came in to replace a visibly upset Fasth, who allowed three goals on 12 shots. Fasth threw his mask and then appeared to be yelling at his teammates when he got to the bench.
''Basically I said `You've got to wake up,''' Fasth said.
The Oilers finally got on the board with just under 5 minutes to play in the second as Pitlick gained the zone and beat Andersen with a stick-side shot from near the face-off dot for his first goal of the season.
Edmonton pulled to 3-2 with a rare power-play goal with 7:20 remaining in the third period as Petry's point shot deflected off the stick of defender Devante Smith-Pelly and past Andersen.
The Ducks, however, were able to seal the victory with a late empty-net goal from Thompson.
NOTES: It was the second of four games between the two teams this season. Anaheim won 2-1 at home on Wednesday. ... In their first 29 games, the Oilers scored a Western Conference-low 63 goals. Only the Carolina Hurricanes (60), Florida Panthers (58) and Buffalo Sabres (52) had scored fewer. ... Ducks D Ben Lovejoy made his return to the lineup after missing 21 games with a broken finger on Oct. 26 against San Jose. ... Out injured for Anaheim were Corey Perry (knee), Francois Beauchemin (finger), Eric Brewer (foot), John Gibson (groin) and Dany Heatley (groin). ... Missing from the Oilers' lineup were Benoit Pouliot (foot), Boyd Gordon (back) and Nikita Nikitin (back).