There is little left to do for the Edmonton Oilers besides throw wrenches into other teams’ plans.
Taylor Hall had a goal and two assists as the Oilers upset the Pacific Division-leading Anaheim Ducks 4-2 on Sunday.
David Perron, Jordan Eberle and Justin Schultz also scored for the Oilers (28-42-9), who have won two in a row.
“Playing the role of spoilers can be a lot of fun,” said Hall, who has moved into seventh place in league scoring with 77 points. “To get on a team that really needed those points tonight was good. To play a good solid third period against a team like this and not give up a lot was nice. It was a learning game for us. It wasn’t perfect by any means, but for the most part we shut them down.”
It’s the third time the teams have met in the past two weeks. The Oilers beat the Ducks 4-3 in overtime on March 28, while Anaheim edged Edmonton 3-2 on Wednesday.
Perron said the Oilers showed a lot to keep the Ducks from battling back on Sunday.
“I liked the way that we kept going when it was 3-2,” he said. “It was a good game all around. At this point there isn’t a whole lot to play for and to get that kind of energy was pretty cool. We want to keep our momentum going into next year and play this kind of hockey right from the start. We had a lot of great emotion tonight.”
Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins said three second-period fights had an effect on the outcome.
“It certainly rattled their team,” he said. “They are a composed group in Anaheim and then when the first one erupted, that seemed to set them off the tracks a little bit. I thought they got distracted. I think it worked in our favour. They were so upset they were even yelling at me, which is always great when I didn’t even throw a punch.”
Jakob Silfverberg and Corey Perry responded for the Ducks (50-20-8) who have lost two straight and remained just one point up on the idle San Jose Sharks for first in the Pacific.
“We’re struggling finding ways to win hockey games right now,” said Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf. “I thought we started a lot better than we have in the past and were in a hockey game. We let our emotions get the best of us a little bit there for a while and I thought that was a little bit counter-productive and that’s our responsibility, me and (Corey Perry).”
Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau said it was far from a perfect outing from starting goalie Jonas Hiller.
“It’s tough, I thought (Hiller) played well in the first period. Then there were a couple in the second that he could have had,” he said. “Then in the third, he regained his form again. It’s one of those things where he’s really lacking in confidence and once the first one went in, he was a little worried until he regained his composure.”
The Ducks opened the scoring on the game’s first shot, 1:20 into the first period. Edmonton goalie Viktor Fasth made the initial stop on Silfverberg, but the rebound caromed off of teammate Sam Gagner and trickled into the net.
Edmonton came close to tying the game with five minutes left to play in the opening frame when Perron made a nice pass to a hard-charging Ryan Smyth, but Hiller was quick to come across and make the save.
The Oilers knotted the game 1-1 six minutes into the second period with a power play goal as Hall banked in a goal off of Hiller with a shot from the side of the net for his 27th of the season.
Perron kept pace with Hall for the team’s goal-scoring lead three minutes later while Edmonton was short-handed, beating Hiller with an off-balance shot from the right faceoff circle for his 27th. It was just Edmonton’s fourth short-handed goal of the season against a league-leading 13 allowed.
The Oilers took a 3-1 lead with just over three minutes left in the second period as Eberle swung a puck out front and the rebound remained loose in the crease before a pinching Schultz tapped it in.
The Ducks got back to within a goal with on a power play just 25 seconds into the third period as Perry tipped a long Getzlaf wrist shot from the point past Fasth for his 42nd goal of the season.
Edmonton withstood a ton of pressure before getting an insurance goal. Eberle also scored his 27th moved into a three-way tie for the team lead with an empty-net goal.
Anaheim threw everything they had at the Oilers net in the third period, but Fasth proved up to the task, making 34 saves in total to earn his first victory against his old team.
“The guys played great in front of me today,” Fasth said. “They cleared a lot of rebounds and blocked a lot of shots. It was a great team effort. Of course it is special to play against them and get the win. I have a lot of friends on that team and played for them for a year.”
The Ducks get right back at it on Monday in Vancouver against the Canucks. Edmonton continues its season-ending four game homestand on Tuesday against the Colorado Avalanche.
Notes: It was the fifth and final meeting between the Oilers and Ducks this season. Anaheim had a 3-0-1 record in the series entering the game and had taken 12 of the past 15 encounters in Edmontona The Ducks allowed six first period goals in their three games heading into Edmonton. a With the playoffs looming, the Ducks chose to rest their two oldest players, giving Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu the night off. a Anaheim was without G Frederik Andersen (upper body) and D Cam Fowler (knee). a LW Jesse Joensuu (ankle), LW Ryan Jones (torn PCL), RW Tyler Pitlick (knee), LW Luke Gazdic (shoulder), RW Nail Yakupov (ankle) and D Andrew Ference (chest) missed the game for Edmonton.