NHL Playoffs: Anaheim Ducks game six loss may be for the best

Predators look like the Western Conference winner but the Cup still belongs to Penguins

Talbot maintained momentum after his side scored the first goal by pitching a shutout in the first period and then rescued his team in the second as Anaheim dictated play with 16 shots to Edmonton's three.

The catharsis showed in the open-armed celebration by Andrew Cogliano, the short leap by Nick Ritchie into Sami Vatanen, and the giddy hops over the bench as the buzzer sounded.

Game Sevens are nearly always exciting, but early in the final game of the Oilers/Ducks series on Wednesday, it felt like the same story was being written again with the same California sigh: the Ducks failed to get a Game 7 lead, for the fifth straight time.

So when he found a patch of open ice during the third period Wednesday night, Ritchie could let fly with a lovely shot, his wrists unencumbered by the weight of history. After allowing nine goals on 142 shots through the first four games, he allowed nine in Games 5 and 6 before bouncing back with this effort that sent the Capitals plunging into an offseason of change and Pittsburgh into its fifth East final in 10 years. With Game 7 losses in each of the last four years and a 2-6 overall mark in the series deciding contest, the Ducks look to alter their fortunes on Wednesday when they play the finale of their Western Conference semifinal set against the visiting Edmonton Oilers.

The 21-year-old German scored a hat trick and assisted on two goals Sunday for a total of five goals and eight assists against the Ducks this series.

Drake Caggiula opened the scoring just 3:31 into Game 7.

"That picture was a little bit weird, I don't know how you're supposed to feel comfortable when they hold you like that, it was pretty much like a death grip", McDavid said Wednesday.

The Ducks ended their ignominious streak after the tense final minutes of a strong defensive performance to back Gibson's best game of the postseason. The Ducks will go on to face off against the Nashville Predators in the Western Conference Finals.

"For us to come down here with a team so young and to compete with the Ryan Getzlafs and the Corey Perrys and all those guys and still go toe-to-toe and still come out ahead, it's a really big accomplishment", he said. "It's imperative we get our game going right off the bat".

"[We're] just going to have to wait and see once the puck drops", said Lucic. "I think the biggest question is where are you going".

The Ducks regrouped and from that point on, the Oilers managed only 11 shots.

The time is now for the five-time Pacific Division champion Ducks on the 10-year anniversary of their 2007 championship. He's hoping the team gets off to a similar start as Game 6. If the Ducks loss has meaning then they should be able to expose the Oilers in game seven. I've said it for four years in Anaheim: "'We're due to win, ' but in the end, your best players have got to be your best players". "It's a phenomenal feeling". The Ducks kept pouring it on to the Edmonton skaters throughout the rest of the game. But that replay was never shown in Honda Center, leaving Ducks fans muttering for the remainder of the first period.

Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli came into this season hopeful, but nowhere near certain, that his team would end a decade-long playoff drought. The Oilers had their first A game of the series, playing without Andrej Sekera (suspected knee injury) and Oscar Klefbom (who took a puck to the chest in Game 5), inserting Eric Gryba and Griffin Reinhart.

Whether the fix is in or the referees have just screwed up time and time and time and time and time again in Anaheim's favor, the Oilers have had to outplay the Anaheim Ducks considerably just to get to a game seven that will be played on the road.



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