For a team that is hardly ever boring, it just got a lot more interesting.
The Ducks have been intriguing every step of this postseason with injuries, comebacks and unlikely heroes, but this latest turn presents a challenge they would rather not face.
The Ducks trail the best-of-seven series, 2-0, after a 39-save performance by Talbot. Game 3 is Sunday in Edmonton, with the Ducks needing to win four of five games to advance after failing to defend home ice.
“If you’re going to play a long time, you’re going to have adversity,” Ducks goalie John Gibson said. “We have it now.”
The Ducks started on the wrong foot, were sloppy in the first half and dealt with another strong game from Oilers star Connor McDavid. Yet a second-half surge put them in position to tie the score late.
Cam Fowler hit the post twice and fell on a potential breakaway before Edmonton’s Milan Lucic pounced on him in the third period, squashing the Ducks’ chances of winning on the ice they defended so well this season.
“It’s always disappointing,” Ryan Getzlaf said. “When you’re talking about playoff hockey, and having your own building, I’d be really disappointed if we didn’t play well, but we played pretty good hockey tonight. We’ve got to make a few adjustments and find our way into Game 3.”
The Ducks cited not getting in Talbot’s way and making it difficult for Edmonton’s workhorse.
“We’re taking a lot of shots, but I think a lot of them, he’s having a little bit too easy time to pick them up,” Jakob Silfverberg said. “Just make sure to go a little bit harder and a battle a little bit harder in front of their net.”
The Ducks scratched top-line left wing Nick Ritchie because of flu symptoms before puck drop and inserted Jared Boll and Korbinian Holzer.
Boll played his first playoff game since 2014 and got the Ducks a power play for their first goal when he was high-sticked by Darnell Nurse. Silfverberg wristed the puck in from the right side to cut the deficit to 2-1 and let loose pent-up nervousness in the building.
The Ducks’ defense did not have Kevin Bieksa and Sami Vatanen. Ducks coach Randy Carlyle ruled out Bieksa before the game because of a lower-body injury and said Bieksa “should be” available later in the series.
A bad shift by Holzer included a holding penalty that resulted in Edmonton’s second goal and third power-play goal of the series. Jordan Eberle’s shot hit Patrick Maroon’s skate and popped up and into the net at 6:41 of the second period.
Edmonton took advantage of a jittery start by the Ducks with a goal 65 seconds into the game.
Defenseman Andrej Sekera sent a loose puck on net from the left side and it got through for his first goal of the playoffs.
Edmonton lost Drake Caggiula in the second period and when he crashed into the boards.
The Oilers didn’t look too much into a 2-0 series lead.
“The series is a long way from over,” McDavid said. “Many teams have done it, come back from two, so it doesn’t mean much.”
KEYS TO GAME 2
1. The Ducks’ poor penalty killing hurt them again. The Oilers burned them for one power-play goal in three advantages, the ninth power-play goal the Ducks have allowed in 25 disadvantages.
2. Edmonton goaltender Cam Talbot was formidable in stopping 39 shots and allowing just one goal, during a Ducks power play in the second period.
3. The goal post was Talbot’s best friend during the third period. A long blast by Cam Fowler hit the right post during a Ducks power play and the rebound was cleared by Oilers defenseman Adam Larsson. Fowler hit the post again a few minutes later, drawing groans from the crowd.
-- Helene Elliott