Ducks wade through Oil(ers) in epic shootout
After their six game losing streak the Ducks were able to bounce back with three straight wins. But then they laid two eggs at home and lost by a combined score of 0-7 to the Red Wings and Coyotes. It wasn't all bad news though, as the Ducks welcomed back Joffrey Lupul to the lineup, during the Coyotes game, after a year off to do back surgery complications. The Ducks started their Pacific Northwest trip with a visit to Edmonton were the Ducks hoped to rebound.
The game was very entertaining and evenly matched. Both teams moved very quickly up and down the ice and in the 1st period it was pretty much evenly matched. In the 2nd period the Ducks had the slight edge but towards the end of the 3rd the Oilers came alive and almost stole a victory. Cam Fowler and Taylor Hall, former teammates on the Windsor Spitfires, had a few nice chances in the game but no goals but their times would come later. Saku Koivu started out the scoring with a nice feed from Cam Fowler who threaded it to Teemu Selanne who passed it to Koivu enabling him to roof it. Sbisa had a costly turnover on a power play that enabled Ryan Jones to have a breakaway but it was defended nicely by Selanne so Jones was unable to get a shot off. Teemu Selanne had the next goal being at the right place at the right time off of a Andy Sutton slapshot rebound. The Ducks had what seemed to be a comfortable two goal lead about halfway through the third. Crisp fast passing from Tom Gilbert and Magnus Paajarvi enabled Jones to have a mini breakaway and beat Jonas Hiller. The Oilers had many great opportunities in the 3rd by Hiller played well as usual. But during a power play off of a Kurtis Foster shot Dustin Penner was able to slam the rebound through Hiller's five hole.
The game then went to an epic shootout. There have been many people who like to do away with the shootout but it's a very entertaining to watch especially when it gets to the later rounds as this game would prove. In this shootout the only ones that scored were the two highly touted rookies of 2010 and the one making his return. Lupul started off the shootout with a goal, Selanne was 2nd and tried a similar stop on a dime move that worked last year but didn't fool Nikolai Khabibulin. Corey Perry was next and had a move that did fake out Khabibulin but at the last second he lifted his pad up to make a great save. The Oilers had a few good chances themselves. Taylor Hall scored in the 3rd round with a trickling goal, before Perry's attempt, to tie it up and send it into the extended rounds. The Oilers came closest in the middle rounds as one of the shooters rang one off the post. Towards the later rounds the less stickhandling savvy players just took long range shots which I can't imagine would ever fool either goalie in net. In the bottom of the 10th round Cam Fowler drove home the game winner three days after his 19th birthday. All in all a highly exciting game played by two teams with a lot of young talent.
On a somewhat miscellaneous note while I'm glad that Joffrey Lupul is back, I'm not happy the Ducks decided to send Dan Sexton down to make room for him on the roster. Especially when Matt Beleskey could have been send down instead. Beleskey just doesn't bring the energy and moves that Sexton brings. I have a feeling Sexton will be back at some point. Selanne played in his first game back after missing the two previous games due to his groin strain that kept him out previously.