Edmonton got goals from Patrick Maroon, Anton Slepyshev and Connor McDavid, while Cam Talbot stopped 22 of 28 shots. The squad won 42 percent of their faceoffs, went 0-for-3 on the power play and threw 47 hits in the loss.
Anaheim got two goals and an assist from Jakob Silfverberg, a two-point performance from Ryan Getzlaf and Ducks goaltender John Gibsons made 24 saves on 27 shots.
“We didn’t take advantage of the energy that was around us,” said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan. “By the first timeout we were down by two, by the second timeout we were down by three and we worked our way back in but it wasn’t our night; we weren’t sharp enough, we weren’t alert.”
The Ducks scored just 25 seconds into the game on their first shot on goal. Rickard Rakell was sprung on a breakaway by Getzlaf, choosing to go high glove on Talbot. That was the fastest start for the Ducks in playoff history.
The visitors made it 2-0 shortly after, as Silfverberg scored at 5:33 of the first. A Hampus Lindholm point shot was deflected before making its way to Talbot, which threw the netminder off. Silfverberg got to the blue paint to jam in the rebound for his fifth of the post-season.
On their first two shots of the game, the Ducks had two goals.
Getzlaf then pushed the lead further. Darnell Nurse‘s clearing attempt was picked up by the forward on the right half wall. He skated in and fired a wrist shot top corner on Talbot to give the Ducks a 3-0 lead at 11:51.
Anaheim scored three goals on six shots halfway through the period.
“I thought we came out and executed properly in that first period,” said Getzlaf. “It was about coming out in this building, it’s a tough atmosphere to play in – awesome and fun – and our guys did a great job in that first period.”
The flat start prompted McLellan to shuffle his top six forwards in search of a boost. McDavid was deployed with Milan Lucic and Jordan Eberle, while Leon Draisaitl centred Maroon and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
“It was 3-0 at the second timeout, things sure weren’t looking good,” said the Oilers bench boss. “We had to try something, just shake things up.”
The Oilers did not wilt away, cueing the comeback with 39.5 seconds left in the opening period. Kris Russell‘s wrist shot from the blue line was deflected twice, first by Nugent-Hopkins’ stick then by Maroon’s body, and made its way across the goal-line. The play was reviewed for a high-stick but deemed legal. That was Maroon’s third tally of the playoffs. Russell also registered his first point of the post-season on the play.
The Oilers revved the engine in the second period, scoring just 1:28 in. David Desharnais curled behind the Ducks’ net, placing a centring pass in front of Gibson. The puck deflected off Slepyshev’s skate in front, then caught a bounce off a Ducks player to make it 3-2. The goal was awarded to Slepyshev, with Desharnais and Russell getting the assists.
The goal got Oil Country back into the game, as they yelled “Gibson” intermittently.
Corey Perry then gave the Oilers a power-play opportunity at 5:16, interfering with McDavid in the Oilers zone. After a whistle during that power play, Lucic and Lindholm exchanged pleasantries and both received a minor penalty.
While 4-on-4 and in the offensive zone, McDavid took hold of the puck. He skated around the left circle along the boards, then button-hooked on Sami Vatanen, firing a laser that beat Gibson to complete the comeback.
“He can do some stuff out there that other guys can’t do,” said Ducks forward Silfverberg about McDavid. “We pay him the respect he needs but I think we’re doing a pretty good just against him.”
Edmonton tied it up at 3-3 but couldn’t take a stranglehold of the game.
“We did a good job battling back to tie it up but ultimately we definitely didn’t deserve to win that one,” said McDavid. “Whatever luck we might have had in Game 2 definitely wasn’t there tonight.”
From that point, it was all Ducks, who responded swiftly with a Chris Wagner goal at 9:28. His shot from the right side caught the arm of Talbot but got through him for the Ducks to regain the lead 4-3.
Then in the final frame, Silfverberg scored his second of the game and sixth of the post-season at 4:56. He received a pass in the slot from Josh Manson and took a shot that Talbot got a piece of with his shoulder. Once again, the Oilers netminder couldn’t get enough of it as it just got through him.
McLellan called a coach’s challenge for offside on the play. Silfverberg appeared to have entered the zone ahead of the puck but upon video review, it was called a good goal.
“Your eyes are telling you it’s offside but if you’re the linesman, you’re going, ‘I don’t know for sure,’ and the call on the ice stands,” said McLellan. “It’s disappointing because I think even they likely know it’s offside but they can’t confirm it.”
It was 5-3 Anaheim with 15 minutes left to play until Ryan Kesler scored the next one for the Ducks.
The centreman accidentally blocked a shot in front of the Oilers net. The puck dropped right in front of him for an easy rebound goal to make it 6-3 at 10:38.
“It’s a long series, we’re still up 2-1, we’re still in a decent spot,” said McDavid.
Game 4 goes Wednesday, May 3, at Rogers Place. The game begins at 8:00 PM MDT.