Late in the first period, after an opening 15 minutes that lived up to the built-up drama, Ducks goalie Jonathan Bernier took issue with Connor McDavid.
The NHL's scoring leader had just dazzled the Honda Center crowd with another highlight goal, but Bernier took issue with his extra whacks in the crease and jabbed McDavid in the chest.
The message was metaphorical: Edmonton might have the league's thoroughbred, but the Ducks have the horses to stand up to it. It showed in a 4-3 win Wednesday that tantalized as a potential playoff preview.
The Ducks erased one-goal deficits twice and pulled away on three straight goals from defensemen Hampus Lindholm, Josh Manson and wing Rickard Rakell to take sole possession of second place in the Pacific Division.
The Ducks (89 points) are two points behind the first-place San Jose Sharks but could play Edmonton (87) in the playoffs, so the game foreshadowed a potentially terrific series.
"Any time we're playing these division rivals, these people we're competing with in the playoffs that we could see, you definitely want to make sure that you're playing at the top of your game, knowing we can beat them and put doubt in their mind," center Ryan Getzlaf said.
Bernier made 29 saves while Oilers goalie Cam Talbot, who carried consecutive shutouts into the game, was pulled from the net in the second period.
Rakell's 32nd goal triggered it, in impressive fashion. He spun around Oilers defenseman Kris Russell and snapped a shot high for a 4-2 lead at 11 minutes 24 seconds of the second period.
"I tried to get to the middle and make a play," Rakell said. "The first play didn't work out, so I just tried to do something to beat the defender."
Lindholm joined the rush and buried Rakell's pass with 31 seconds left in the first period. Manson also pinched and beat Talbot with a wrist shot early in the second.
Lindholm had a career-high three points and said, "It was one my easier goals, I must say."
"That just describes his whole season there," Lindholm said. "That's something I've seen from him from Day One. … He's got some really good skills, and when he wants to shoot the puck, there's not many goalies who can stop the puck."
Not many can stop McDavid. His 26th goal, and first career goal in seven games against the Ducks, was another for his highlight reel.
He took a long outlet pass from Leon Draisaitl on the left side, wheeled by Cam Fowler and slipped a backhand past an outstretched Bernier for a 2-1 lead.
"We were lucky enough to have a 2-2 tie," Ducks Coach Randy Carlyle said. "We changed our attitude, and we're much more competitive in the hockey game from the second period on."
Sam Steel, the Ducks' first-round pick in 2016, was named Western Hockey League Eastern Conference player of the year after a prolific regular season. Steel, the draft pick acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs in the trade for Frederik Andersen, leads all Canadian Hockey League players with 50 goals and 81 assists in 66 games for the Regina Pats.