Anaheim Ducks Neutralize Edmonton Oilers in 2-1 Victory

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Dec 10, 2014; Anaheim, CA, USA; Anaheim Ducks right wing Kyle Palmieri (21) during the third period against the Edmonton Oilers at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The Anaheim Ducks left their quick return to Honda Center with their fifth straight win, defeating the Edmonton Oilers 2-1 and improving to 19-6-5 on the season. Their 43 standings points are the most in the NHL, three more than the Eastern Conference-leading Detroit Red Wings (40).

Matt Beleskey got the Ducks on the board with a power-play goal. Jeff Petry had been called for holding Andrew Cogliano. With the second unit out and the power-play set to expire, Rickard Rakell sent a pass down to Kyle Palmieri. Palmieri then got a pass to Beleskey in the slot. Beleskey, who was left open because Oilers captain Andrew Ference dove towards Palmieri, one-timed a blast past former Ducks netminder Viktor Fasth to give the Ducks a 1-0 lead at the 8:59 mark of the first period. The goal was Beleskey’s 14th of the season, tying him with Corey Perry for the team lead in goals.

Ryan Kesler extended the lead to 2-0 at the 10:26 mark of the second period. Hampus Lindholm fired a stretch pass to Kesler, who beat Taylor Hall in a one-on-one race, entered the offensive zone with speed and fired a shot past Fasth to extend the Ducks’ lead to two goals. The goal was Kesler’s tenth, including his fourth in three games. Kesler became the third player on the Ducks to reach ten goals (Perry and Beleskey). Kesler also became the first Ducks player this season to reach double-digit goals and assists, and he overtook Perry on the team’s scoring lead (23 points, which puts him second behind Ryan Getzlaf).

However, the Oilers would cut into the lead to begin the third period. Hall pressured Josh Manson in the defensive zone for a turnover, and the puck came to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who pounced on the puck and fired a shot past Frederik Andersen to make the score 2-1 just 53 seconds into the third period. Nugent-Hopkins netted his seventh goal and 18th point on the season, and his 18 points tied him with Jordan Eberle for the team’s scoring lead.

The Oilers lost their 13th contest in their past 14 games, including their ninth game by one goal in that stretch. By contrast, the Ducks past twelve wins have all been one-goal wins (their last multi-goal win coming October 24th against the Columbus Blue Jackets). The Oilers fell to 1-14-4 against the Western Conference with the loss to the Ducks. Despite this, the Oilers ramped up some pressure in the later two periods. The Ducks didn’t look great for stretches, but their defense was strong throughout the night, save for the turnover that led to the Edmonton goal.

Here are my three stars for the game.