The St. Louis Blues, desperate to avoid elimination in Game 5 Friday night, quieted a streaking Preds offense and did just enough against Pekka Rinne to stay alive in the Western Conference, claiming a 2-1 win and sending their 3-2 series back to Nashville.
That's what's going on in Anaheim today, where the Ducks gave their players a day off of practice and away from the media. The Ducks barreled onto the ice to dog pile Perry, while the Oilers trudged back to again try to process what had happened. Getzlaf has 15 points in 9 games and when the topic of Conn Smythe comes up, he's the leader from the West. Kelser's offensive contributions are not close, but he is a disruptive force against the Oiler offense and a key reason why the team switched to have all three of McDavid, Draisaitl, and RNH play down the middle in the last game.
McDavid scored for the third consecutive game and did it at the expense of Ducks forward Ryan Kesler, who had already established himself as the top agitator to the Oilers star before confirming it in the contentious cauldron of a best-of-seven series. Draisaitl has made it a fair fight.
The other goals were scored by Zack Kassian and Anton Slepyshev. "Everyone knows how good he is in here".
Who knew he was capable of a five-point outing? He also became the first Oilers' player with a postseason hat trick since 2000. He beats them up for fun.
Biggest game of your life, Draisaitl was asked? "Being up 3-1 now, I think we can control our destiny".
"Obviously the season was on the line and we all had to step it up a notch and the whole team did", said Draisaitl. Andrej Sekera was injured on a hit from Getzlaf, while Oscar Klefbom left the game after blocking a Cam Fowler shot. "You play 45 minutes you're leaving it all out there", said Fowler, who played a career high 35 minutes in game 5. For the Blues, a roller coaster season comes to an end, but there's a lot of positives to build off for next season.
The two times the Oilers came back to win a series when trailing 3-2 were in 1990 (Winnipeg) and 1998 (Colorado).
"We're not going to blow teams out like this all the time". The puck is skated into the zone, passed off to Draisaitl, he passes it off to receive it back nearly immediately and snaps one home with a nice crisp wrist shot to finish off the hat trick before the second period was even over. There was no panic in the room. "We can regroup. I think there's a few guys that need to do soul-searching, including myself".
That games is set for Wednesday night, but the game time has yet to be announced. But it won't be lost to nervousness or inexperience or lack of preparation.
"We seemed to lack any energy or mental focus". It won't be because they're scared of the big stage.
Ducks continue to win almost two-thirds of their face-offs against the Oilers, obviously a major concern because they have the puck more, but the Oilers have still managed to make every game close, whether it's a win or a loss.
The Ducks were eliminated in the first rounds of 2016 (Nashville) and 2013 (Detroit), the second round of 2014 (Los Angeles) and the third round of 2015 (Chicago) in seventh games at the Honda Center.
"Everything. They score on basically the first three chances".
"He's a great player". But thing's got even better when they returned home Friday night. "We have to make sure we do that on Wednesday".
Oilers coach Todd McLellan challenged the goal, and a video review found no goalie interference because Kesler had been shoved into Talbot by Edmonton defenseman Darnell Nurse. He has nine points (2 G, 7 A) in 10 playoff games. "These are still the moments why we play".
Perhaps the Ducks learned the hard way that each game has its own theme and personality. The Ducks and Oilers have taken turns cutting each other off at the knees.
The Ducks now have won two straight overtime games, tapping their experience.