Ducks win another close one, edging Edmonton Oilers, 2-1

Matt Beleskey, Ryan Kesler score as Ducks defeat Edmonton Oilers for fifth victory in row

What grabs attention is the Ducks' possession of the most points in the NHL.

Behind that is the grit that has sustained them through injury and illness, and served them through the tense competition of one-goal games.

The Ducks beat the Edmonton Oilers, 2-1, on Wednesday at Honda Center, the 12th consecutive time they've won by one goal. They're 15-0-5 in such games.

“We calmed down, played the game the way we're supposed to,” Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau said after his team surrendered an early third-period goal to halve its lead. “Maybe they're getting used to one-goal games.”'

The Ducks (19-6-5) are getting used to winning: Wednesday's triumph was their fifth in a row. They embark on a five-game trip to Canada that starts in Edmonton (7-17-5) on Friday.

In a season loaded with adversity and roster moves, the Ducks have needed 33 players to fill the roster through 30 games.

Center Ryan Kesler is one of seven Ducks who've played every game, and the former Selke Trophy winner's leadership despite being in his first season in Anaheim has helped push the team through its difficulties. Now he's adding offense, scoring his fourth goal in three games (and 10th overall) with a second-period shot that lifted the Ducks to a 2-0 lead.

Off a long pass from defenseman Hampus Lindholm, Kesler beat Edmonton forward Taylor Hall to the puck and his shot beat former Ducks goalie Viktor Fasth to his right.

“Getting good looks, teammates are finding me,” Kesler said. “As the year goes on, we're getting better.

“The character of this room … when we deal with adversity, injury, the mumps, we just keep battling.”

Current Ducks goaltender Frederik Andersen protected the lead by stopping 21 of 22 shots.

The only time he was beaten came 53 seconds into the third period when Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins shot a puck lost by Ducks defenseman Josh Manson in front of Andersen.

“Freddie was good in net, but I thought we could've had more traffic in front of him, to make it harder for him,” Fasth said.

As the Ducks wait for injured John Gibson (groin) and Jason LaBarbera (broken hand) to heal and newly signed Ilya Bryzgalov to play his way into shape, Andersen made his 16th consecutive start.

Another constant, forward Matt Beleskey, continued his unexpected torrid start with his career-best 14th goal.

Late in a first-period power play, center Rickard Rakell controlled a pass off his skate and dished it to forward Kyle Palmieri. He slid the puck back to Beleskey, who smacked a high shot past Fasth.

The Ducks have won three straight without Corey Perry, sidelined three to four weeks with a knee injury.

“There's lots of opportunity out there, just trying to keep taking advantage of it,” Beleskey said.

The Ducks worked to demoralize the Oilers early after the visitors lost in San Jose on Tuesday night. But a 15-7 shots-on-goal advantage and two power plays netted only a one-goal lead.

A blowout or two certainly would ease a coach's mind.

“We have to find that killer instinct to bury teams,” Boudreau said.

lance.pugmire@latimes.com

Twitter: @latimespugmire

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times

UPDATES

9:14 a.m.: Corrects Taylor Hall of Edmonton's position to forward from defenseman.

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