The Ducks followed up a 7-1 massacre at the hands of the first-place Boston Bruins Sunday night with a 6-2 blowout against the Edmonton Oilers.
The last time these two teams met, Ducks’ top goalie prospect Lukas Dostal stopped 46 of 49 shots and stole a win from Edmonton 4-3, even though the Ducks were outplayed in every facet of the game. Unfortunately for the Ducks, Dostal was not here to save the day for them.
The scoring got started early when Oilers rookie Dylan Holloway got left alone in the slot and buried it just over three minutes into the game. Connor McDavid picked up a loose puck behind the net, and John Klingberg gave up his position to pressure McDavid, leaving Holloway alone.
Just over a minute later, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins fired a shot from above the faceoff circle, and it deflected off of Cam Fowler’s stick and got past a screened John Gibson to make it 2-0.
The Ducks would answer back when Max Comtois battled down low, came away with the puck, and set up Sam Carrick in front of the net for the Duck’s opening goal. The Ducks would not be able to capture any momentum after the goal, though, and the Oilers would come marching back.
About a minute and a half later, Fowler turned the puck over in the defensive zone, and McDavid added yet another highlight to a laundry list of highlight reel plays in his career. McDavid put Trevor Zegras in the spin cycle and fired a backhander top corner for his NHL-leading 35th goal of the year.
Then with just under a minute left in the opening period, yes, this is all still in the first period, Dmitry Kulikov turns the puck over at the faceoff dot to Klim Kostin, who puts it in to make it 4-1 Oilers.
After a busy first period, the second period would be much quieter on the scoresheet. That is until Kevin Shattenkirk loses Mattias Janmark down low, and Janmark finds Kostin alone at the hash marks, and he rips one bar down to extend the lead to 5-1.
With just over a minute left in the second period, Zegras took a slashing penalty, and just five seconds into the power play, Evan Bouchard fed Leon Draisaitl a seam pass that Draisaitl deflected in between his legs for a 6-1 Oilers lead going into the third period.
The Ducks would get one back early in the third period when Simon Benoit bombs a slapshot from the point, and it beats Jack Cambell to make it 6-2. Comtois found a streaking Brett Leason, who then drop-passed it to Benoit for his first of the season.
The score would hold here, and the Oilers walked away with a relatively easy victory as they continued their West Coast trip.
The score speaks for itself. It was not a well-played hockey game for the Ducks, as they own the worst defensive team since 2007. Bad turnovers and constantly being out of position killed the Ducks, as it has all year long, and when you add in McDavid and Draisaitl to the mix, you figure it is not going to end well.
The Ducks have now given up 17 goals in their last three games and are averaging 45 shots per game in that stretch. The Ducks also still lead the NHL in shots against per game by a wide margin at 38.8 shots per game, three shots higher than the next highest (Columbus Blue Jackets 35.4). It is the same distance between the Ducks and the Blue Jackets as the Blue Jackets and the 13th highest shots against which belongs to the Colorado Avalanche.
To avoid beating a dead horse, I will look at the positives from the game.
Max Comtois had a strong night with two assists that happened because he was good on the forecheck. Comtois was buzzing on the ice for the most part, and he contributed to both goals by the Ducks. Hopefully, Comtois can build on this performance because he shows flashes of solid play, but he just has not been able to fully piece it together consistently.
Another positive last night was Anthony Stolarz. Stolarz took over for Gibson to start the third period and was able to shut down the Oilers in the final frame. Stopping all 16 shots he faced, the Oilers had some great scoring chances, but Stolarz stood tall and made some impressive saves.
The Ducks will wrap up their ten-game homestand against the New Jersey Devils at 7:00 p.m. PST at Honda Center.https://share.transistor.fm/s/c8b156e1