May 10, 2017
The Ducks finally snapped their streak of game 7 futility on Wednesday night. Anaheim defeated the Oilers 2-1 in game 7 at the Honda Center, propelling them into the Western Conference Finals.
Nick Ritchie scored the game-winning goal 3:21 into the 3rd period. He fired a wrist shot from the right circle, which snuck right under the arm of Oilers’ goaltender Cam Talbot.
Ritchie’s goal gave the Ducks their first lead in a game 7 over the last five years. Anaheim had lost four consecutive game 7’s at home after leading a playoff series 3-2 dating back to 2013.
It was a tough start for Anaheim after Drake Caggiula forced Shea Theodore to turn the puck over right in front of the Ducks’ net, fluttering the puck past John Gibson, which gave the Oilers a 1-0 lead.
Gibson settled down after that. He made 23 saves on the evening, and avenged his previous game 7 failures.
The Ducks tied the game at 1-1 at 8:55 of the 2nd period on a goal by Andrew Cogliano. The puck was kept alive by Ryan Kessler on the play, after Talbot was out of position. Cogliano slipped the puck past the sprawled goaltender, and Anaheim suddenly had the momentum.
The 2nd period was dominated by the Ducks, who regained their confidence. Anaheim outshot the Oilers 16-3 in the middle frame, and had 11 scoring chances to the Oilers 6. Despite the flurry of pressure, the score was still tied 1-1 after two periods.
After Ritchie gave the Ducks the lead in the 3rd, they still continued to control most of the play. Gibson made a couple of saves late, including one on a deflection from Anton Slepyshev, and another on Leon Draisaitl.
Talbot made 28 saves on the night, and left the net in favor of an extra attacker with 2:06 left in the game. However, the Ducks were content to repeatedly ice the puck, and the Oilers were unable to generate any scoring chances of significance.
The Ducks move on the the Western Conference Finals against the Nashville Predators, which will begin on Friday night at the Honda Center.