The Ducks didn’t win, but they were lucky to even grab a point, one they might need when it’s all said and done. Rickard Rakell, somehow, managed to find the back of the net twice in the game’s final 21 seconds to push the game to overtime.
Once it reached a shootout, Connor McDavid ensured the Ducks wouldn’t capture a second point. Here’s what we learned from the Ducks’ 6-5 shootout loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday:
Everyone is waiting around for the trade deadline to pass. Ryan Getzlaf had a strong game with two points — but also a turnover on the Oilers’ first goal. After an unfruitful weekend with back-to-back losses to teams who won’t be playing hockey past the first week of April, the Ducks have two days off to regroup before Wednesday’s practice.
The Ducks don’t play again until Friday, and by then, rosters around the NHL could look very different. Already this morning, two Western Conference clubs moved to add some scoring punch down the stretch ahead of Monday’s noon deadline.
The Nashville Predators added Ryan Hartman, while the Winnipeg Jets acquired Paul Stastny.
“When the deadline comes close, everybody just sits and waits for it kind of thing,” said Getzlaf, who has piled up 42 points in 40 games. “You’re waiting to see what happens around the league and what happens in your own room, those kinds of things. It’s a hard thing to avoid. I’m just glad it’s going to be over [Monday].”
The Ducks need the blueliners to win puck battles in their own zone if they hope to consistently win. A rash of mistakes led to tons of chances for the uber-talented duo of McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. But it was also the Ducks simply being outmuscled along the boards.
Cam Fowler lost a puck battle to Anton Slepyshev, who found McDavid behind the net, before Slepyshev finished the play for the Oilers’ second goal.
Later on, it was Fowler who was late closing out on Ilro Pakarinen, who beat Miller from the slot off the McDavid feed.
On yet another goal, Kevin Bieksa couldn’t keep the puck in the offensive zone, and it led to an odd-man rush.
Rakell looks like a star, but the Ducks need to add more young speedy skaters who can finish. Rakell’s first-career hat trick stands as the signature game of his career as the Swede simply wouldn’t be denied in the closing seconds of regulation. He generated a whopping nine shots on goal, and his speed gave the Oilers fits.
Ondrej Kase is another winger who can scare teams with his skating ability and speed, but the Ducks don’t have any other such players.
They might need to find one if they hope to compete deep into the playoffs.