Ryan Getzlaf knows exactly where the Anaheim Ducks stand. They’re the hottest team in the NHL and within striking distance of the Pacific Division lead.
Anaheim’s captain would rather focus on the product than the results – but the wins are piling up.
Rickard Rakell scored 1:24 into overtime to give the Ducks a 2-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Friday night. Anaheim has won seven consecutive games, 14 of its last 16, and 21 of 27 since Christmas.
“It’s the same thing over and over again,” Getzlaf said. “We’re just playing. That start of the year was a terrible start for our club and we’ve done a great job battling back. Now we’re right in the thick of things. That’s all we’re looking at.”
Getzlaf scored in regulation and Frederik Andersen stopped 17 shots to continue Anaheim’s dominance.
The end of the game was a magnificent show of skill from the 22-year old Rakell when he put a backhander over Cam Talbot, using some gorgeous puck handling to keep Oilers centre Leon Draisaitl flatfooted and leave the goaltender baffled.
“I’m waiting to see it a few more times,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said.
Said Getzlaf: “It was a pretty goal. Those are things obviously Ricky can do at a high level and he’s been doing a lot more lately. It’s been pretty to watch.”
The rest of the night lacked the esthetic beauty of Rakell’s winner in a surprisingly competitive game between teams headed in different directions. While the surging Ducks can now tie Los Angeles for the division lead with a win in regulation against the Kings on Sunday, Edmonton has all of 50 points for the season, punctuated by its longest losing streak of the campaign.
Jordan Eberle had the lone goal for Edmonton, which dropped its sixth in a row. Talbot made 32 saves and had an assist.
Getzlaf put Anaheim ahead 42 seconds into the third period, lifting a shot over Talbot’s right shoulder for the Ducks’ eighth power-play goal during the winning streak. Getzlaf has recorded a point in 10 straight games, the team’s longest streak since he had a goal or assist in 14 in a row in late 2013.
But Eberle tied it 73 seconds later with a blistering wrist shot over Andersen’s glove hand, his 20th goal of the season, matching Taylor Hall for the team lead.
Edmonton coach Todd McClellan was pleased with the effort his team displayed, but left wanting for a corresponding result.
“These last two nights, I think we have become a pretty scrappy team. I have no complaints about the work ethic or the input into the game,” McClellan said. “We’re stepping into the ring with Muhammad Ali right now with some of these teams and we’re able to stay in until the late rounds. That’s not good enough. We’ve got to find ways to win.”
Getzlaf insisted winning to secure a divisional title or seed is not Anaheim’s primary concern, even as the Ducks, Kings and San Jose Sharks have solidified their hold on the division’s three playoff berths and are separated by just six points. The aim, Getzlaf insisted, is preparing for the grind ahead and matching the effort that has put Anaheim in this position.
“I’m going to sound like a broken record, but we’re just playing right now,” Getzlaf said. “We went through so many struggles at the start of the year that it’s not worth worrying about who you are chasing or who is chasing you. We’re just trying to push forward all that we can and get as many wins as we can before the end of this year.”Report Typo/Error