Andrew Cogliano could feel the Ducks’ best game of the postseason slipping away from them Sunday. And with it, the team’s season was circling the drain as well.
Three goals in less than 12 minutes of the first period had given the Ducks a big lead and life in a playoff series in which they had lost the first two games at home. But then the Edmonton Oilers responded with three consecutive goals.
So the Ducks dug a little deeper, riding Chris Wagner’s tiebreaking goal in the second period and third-period goals from Jakob Silfverberg and Ryan Kesler to a 6-3 victory.
“You don’t even have a choice,” Cogliano said. “We let the game get away from us and we’re in a 3-0 hole and the series isn’t looking good. It took everyone collectively to make sure we stayed on the right path. And we did things as a unit.”
Indeed they did, with Rickard Rakell, Silfverberg and Ryan Getzlaf scoring in the first period, and Silfverberg finishing with two goals and an assist.
Josh Manson and Shea Theodore contributed two assists apiece for the Ducks, who had nine players get on the scoresheet and tied a franchise playoff record with six goals.
Patrick Maroon, Anton Slepyshev and Connor McDavid scored for the Oilers, who lead the best-of-seven series 2-1 heading into Game 4 in Edmonton on Wednesday.
However, Getzlaf said the series may have taken a turn in the Ducks’ favor in the final 30 minutes Sunday when the team refused to quit after an Edmonton comeback he said was deflating.
“You’re talking about emotional games,” he said. “There’s ups and downs and there’s different things. Our group showed a little bit of resiliency.”
It appeared the Ducks would have little need for resiliency given the way they started Sunday, with Rakell scoring 25 seconds after the opening faceoff.
A Getzlaf pass from deep in the Ducks’ end launched Rakell on a breakaway at the Oilers blue line and from there he skated in alone on goalie Cam Talbot, beating him with a snap shot high to his glove side.
It was the quickest playoff goal in franchise history.
The Ducks doubled the lead five minutes later when Silfverberg poked in the deflection of a Hampus Lindholm shot at the left post.
Ducks teammates Jakob Silfverberg and Josh Manson (42) celebrate Silfverberg’s goal against the Edmonton Oilers.(Codie McLachlan / Getty Images)
Darnell Nurse of the Edmonton Oilers battles against Corey Perry of the Anaheim Ducks.(Codie McLachlan / Getty Images)
Ducks goalie John Gibson falls to the ice after making a save against the Edmonton Oilers.(Codie McLachlan / Getty Images)
Patrick Maroon of the Edmonton Oilers takes an elbow from Patrick Eaves of the Anaheim Ducks.(Codie McLachlan / Getty Images)
Anaheim Ducks goalie John Gibson tries to collect the puck after making a stop as Edmonton’s Milan Lucic looks for a reobund during the second period.(Jeff McIntosh / AP)
Centers Antoine Vermette of the Ducks and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins of the Oilers face off.(Codie McLachlan / Getty Images)
Ducks right wing Jacob Silverberg tries to control the puck along the boards while under pressure from Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse.(Codie McLachlan / Getty Images)
Ducks teammates Patrick Eaves (18), Ryan Getzlaf (15) and Rickard Rakell (67) celebrate after a score against Oilers goalie Cam Talbot.(Codie McLachlan / Getty Images)
Anaheim winger Jakob Silfverberg (33) scores past Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot and defenseman Adam Larsson (6) during the first period.(Jeff McIntosh / The Canadian Press)
Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm ties up Oilers defenseman Matthew Benning during first-period action.(Jeff McIntosh / The Canadian Press)
Oilers teammates engulf left wing Patrick Maroon (19) after he scored a goal against the Ducks.(Codie McLachlan / Getty Images)
Ducks teammates Brandon Montour (71) and Ryan Kelser (17) congratulate center Rickard Rakell (67) after he scored against the Oilers in the first period.(Codie McLachlan / Getty Images)
After stopping 39 of 40 shots in Game 2 on Friday, Talbot gave up goals on two of the first three shots he saw Sunday.
His night soon got worse with Getzlaf making it 3-0 with a wrist shot at 11 minutes 51 seconds of the first period.
Edmonton got two of those back in a two-minute span sandwiched after the first intermission.
Maroon scored the first with 40 seconds left in the opening period, crashing the crease to redirect a shot past John Gibson.
Slepyshev made it a one-goal game 88 seconds after the break, batting in a loose puck in off the shoulder of defenseman Theodore, and McDavid tied the score seven minutes later after spinning away from defenseman Sami Vatanen at the top of the left faceoff circle.
The deadlock lasted less than a minute, though, before Wagner drove a slap shot through Talbot from a sharp angle near the right boards.
“We fought back and got a big one from Wagner. And away we went from there,” Getzlaf said.
The Ducks then caught two breaks to put the game away.
The first came in the final two minutes of the second period when Leon Draisaitl beat Gibson cleanly on a power play, only to see the shot ricochet harmlessly off the far post.
The Ducks, who gave up at least one power-play goal in each of their first six postseason games, killed three power plays Sunday.
The second break came early in the final period when Silfverberg took a deft pass from Manson between the circles and drove the puck by Talbot. Replays appeared to show Silfverberg was offside on the play but after a lengthy review, the goal stood.
Yet, for Edmonton coach Todd McLellan neither play was as decisive as Rakell’s early goal.
“That wasn’t the backbreaker,” he said of Silfverberg’s disputed goal.
“The backbreaker was 25 seconds in.”
KEYS TO GAME 3
1 Goalie John Gibson got the Ducks through a late second-period onslaught. He stopped Patrick Maroon on a three-on-one, Milan Lucic on a setup by Connor McDavid and Andrej Sekera with a left-pad split save.
2 Jakob Silfverberg delivered again. His third-period goal made it a two-goal score and it was his sixth goal in seven playoff games. He has four goals in the series.
3 Ducks defensemen were active. They combined for six assists, including two each by Josh Manson and Shea Theodore, who maneuvered into the zone to help set up Silfverberg’s second goal. Hampus Lindholm finished at plus-five.