A sheepish expression formed on Rickard Rakell’s face when he met the media after his dazzling overtime goal.
A team official informed him he had more interview obligations afterward, and it was as if Rakell was embarrassed to be this good. Even he couldn’t describe his highlight-reel play 1:24 into overtime Friday to give the Ducks a 2-1 win over Edmonton at Honda Center.
Rakell skated around Brandon Davidson and Taylor Hall before he deked Leon Draisaitl and lifted a backhander past goalie Cam Talbot. Asked to describe it in his television interview, Rakell said, “I don’t know.”
Rakell later said, “It was a good feeling. I didn’t think very much. I just kind of reacted … three-on-three [play], everything can happen.”
The Ducks have made almost everything happen during their NHL-leading seven straight wins. They are 21-4-2 since Christmas. Ryan Getzlaf also scored to extend his point streak to 10 games and goalie Frederik Andersen moved to 11-0-1 in his last 12 decisions.
The Ducks are two points behind the first place Kings in the Pacific Division with the teams playing Sunday. The offense hasn’t been as productive as it was earlier, but Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau pointed to their defense, which has given up five goals in four games.
“Lately our confidence has been good,” Boudreau said. “When it’s a tight game, we always believe we can win.”
Boudreau first wanted to see a replay of Rakell’s goal, which figures to be one of many in his Ducks career, assuming the team re-signs the 22-year-old this summer.
But trade speculation was the topic of the day. Edmonton scratched Teddy Purcell and former Ducks draft pick Justin Schultz for the second straight game, and both are candidates to move before Monday’s trade deadline, according to the Edmonton Sun.
The players who did suit up for the Oilers gave the Ducks a scoreless game for two periods before Anaheim broke through with its hot power play. Getzlaf pivoted to the net in the left circle and lifted a shot over Talbot 42 seconds into the third.
But Edmonton’s Jordan Eberle finished a rush with a shot high past Andersen 71 seconds later to tie it.
Getzlaf looked at the bigger picture in pulling out the win.
“This is the time where we’re learning to compete down the stretch,” he said. “We’re going to play great teams all the way through, and every night’s going to have to be a bit of a grind.”
Ducks players are aware of a potential move before the deadline, specifically an upgrade on wing. Ducks General Manager Bob Murray confirmed that need Thursday but said he’s not necessarily inclined to tweak a successful makeup.
“You don’t want to fool with it too much,” Murray said.
That sentiment was shared by players.
“I think everyone believes in the guys in the room,” forward Andrew Cogliano said. “We’re a team. We’ve been through a lot this year. We’ve been through a lot of tough times, to be honest, at the beginning of the season. A lot of guys have played well. A lot of guys have accepted roles and bought in and done a lot of things to get where we are.”
Follow Curtis Zupke on Twitter @CurtisZupke