The Edmonton Oilers took a one-game-to-none lead in their series against the Anaheim Ducks by winning 5-3 in Anaheim, Calif., on Wednesday. Adam Larsson and Mark Letestu both scored twice for the Oilers, who blew a two-goal lead in the third period but rebounded for the win.
The Nashville Predators, led by P.K. Subban’s three points, took the opener of their second-round series against the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday. Subban scored a goal and added two assists as Nashville came out on top 4-3 in St. Louis.
Adam Larsson and Mark Letestu each scored two goals and Leon Draisaitl added an empty netter as the Edmonton Oilers defeated the Ducks 5-3 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.
Larsson tucked the winner around Ducks goalie John Gibson with 4:40 remaining as the Oilers won the first game of the second-round Western Conference playoff series.
The game entered the third period tied at 1, but then Edmonton went ahead on Letestu’s second power-play goal and Larsson’s first of the game. Within a minute and a half, however, the Ducks had tied it on goals by Getzlaf and Patrick Eaves.
The Oilers won despite being outshot, outhit and having a massive disadvantage in faceoffs. Draisaitl had three assists for the Oilers, Larsson had one and so did Lucic and McDavid, who was tightly marked by Kesler. Edmonton’s No. 1 line – McDavid, Draisaitl and Maroon – failed to generate a shot in the first two periods.
The loss was the first in regulation time for Anaheim since March 10 at St. Louis, where they lost on a goal in the last 20 seconds. They entered the night 15-0-3 over their last 18 games, including a sweep of Calgary in the opening round of the Stanley Cup. It was also the Ducks’ first loss in nine home games.
The victory by Edmonton also at least temporarily takes the home-ice advantage away from Anaheim, which finished two points ahead in the Pacific Division. The Oilers have beaten the Ducks four times in six meetings this season heading into Friday night’s second game, which is also at the Honda Center.
“They’re not going away,” Larsson said. “They’re a veteran team. They’re dominant and they’re going to keep keep coming.”
The series returns to Rogers Place in Edmonton for Games 3 and 4 on Sunday and Wednesday.
P.K. Subban had a goal and two assists and Vernon Fiddler scored with 5:05 left, giving the Nashville Predators a 4-3 victory over the St. Louis Blues in Game 1 of their second-round playoff series on Wednesday night.
The Predators lost Kevin Fiala to a leg injury in the second period and blew a 3-1 lead before Fiddler poked a loose puck by Jake Allen in the third. Colin Wilson and Filip Forsberg also scored for Nashville, and Pekka Rinne made 27 saves. Colton Parayko, Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Sobotka replied for St. Louis. Allen had 28 saves.
Fiala was hit by Blues defenceman Robert Bortuzzo and went hard into the boards behind the St. Louis net at 1:46 of the second. He left the ice on a stretcher and was taken to a hospital for further evaluation.
Game 2 is Friday night.
What else is going on
Vancouver Canucks’ new coach ready to lead younger team
Travis Green, the new coach of the Vancouver Canucks, reflected on how the challenges of his NHL playing career have readied him to lead a rebuilding team whose roster will be young and inexperienced.
Green had been a hot-shot goal scorer as a teenager in the WHL and was drafted 23rd overall by the New York Islanders in 1989. But it took Green three years to make the Islanders and another three years before he produced a 20-plus goal season in the NHL, at the age of 25. He grinded out a 14-season NHL career.
“It has helped, being drafted where I was, thinking I was going to be this high-scoring goal scorer in the NHL,” Green said during an introductory news conference Wednesday at Rogers Arena. “You were, weren’t you?” joked Trevor Linden, the Canucks president, sitting beside Green. “Sometimes,” Green said.
Three years ago, when Linden took over the Canucks, the team’s strategy had been to vie for the playoffs while also bringing in younger players. The team made the playoffs in Linden’s first season but then twice finished at the bottom of the NHL. Management no longer promotes playoff contention as a short-term goal.
The rebuild is officially on – and Green will be its steward. – David Ebner
With a report from Associated Press