After losing four straight Game 7’s at home, the Anaheim Ducks are moving on to the Western Conference Final. They defeated the Edmonton Oilers 2-1 on Wednesday, and will face the Nashville Predators in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final on Friday night.
This is the first time Anaheim won a Stanley Cup Playoff series after trailing 2-0. Their last Conference Final appearance was in 2015 when they lost in seven games to the Chicago Blackhawks.
Anaheim Ducks vs Edmonton Oilers Series Recap
The Edmonton Oilers had their chances. They jumped out to an early lead in Game 7 thanks to Drake Caggiula, but couldn’t hold on. The good thing about this loss is that it is a great learning opportunity for a young and inexperienced Oilers squad. At the beginning of the season not many would have predicted that the Oilers would make the playoffs, let alone take Anaheim to seven games in the second round. Already a huge victory. On the flip side, had Anaheim lost yet another Game 7 at home, their fans and their organization would not have been so forgiving.
Oh Captain, My Captain
Where did Connor McDavid go? Where did Ryan Getzlaf come from? Getzlaf had 10 points in this series, including a four point night in Game 4, while McDavid had five points through seven games, and zero in the Oilers 7-1 Game 6 victory. What happened? Well, the Ducks needed Getzlaf to be their best player, and he really stepped up. His size, vision and strength were a real problem for the Oilers. On the other side, Connor McDavid never really got the time and space to do what he does best. The Ducks did a very good job of taking the Edmonton Oilers captain out of the equation.
Getting contributions from your third and fourth lines is great, but your top two lines need to be going as well to be a contending team. Leon Draisaitl lead the team with an incredible 13 points in that series, even more impressive is that fourth line veteran Mark Letestu had eight points through those seven games. But that was about it. McDavid had five, Milan Lucic had four, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had four and Jordan Eberle only had one. These are key players in the lineup that went ice cold at the wrong time.
The Ducks top six was almost the complete opposite of the Oilers. Of Anaheim’s 21 goals scored in this series, 17 came from their top-six forwards. That’s a whopping 81 percent of their goals. Jakob Silfverberg potted five goals, Rickard Rakell scored four, Ryan Kesler had six points, and Corey Perry scored the overtime winner in Game 5. Looking ahead to Nashville, the bottom of the Ducks lineup is going to have to step up since the top-six will be in tough against Nashville’s blue line.
Overall, this was a good series filled with highs and lows, like all series’ are. There was a little bit of everything. There were blowout games, there were overtime games, something for everyone.
For a group that was considered a bunch of ‘misfits’, the Edmonton Oilers have a bright future ahead, and this was just the beginning. On the other hand, the Anaheim Ducks are running out of time. They need to win now because their window of opportunity is closing.