ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — The Edmonton Oilers have been reduced to playing spoiler in the playoff race. It’s a role they seem to be relishing, creating plenty of drama along the way.
Ryan Strome scored twice and the Oilers recovered to beat the Anaheim Ducks 6-5 in a shootout Sunday after giving up two goals in the final 21 seconds of regulation.
After nearly allowing Los Angeles to overcome a two-goal deficit in the final 18 seconds of a 4-3 win Saturday, the Oilers found themselves playing extra hockey Sunday when Rickard Rakell scored with 20.9 seconds remaining in the third period to make it 5-4 and then tied it with 6.3 seconds to play. He beat Al Montoya with a wrist shot from the slot after Derek Grant won the faceoff against Leon Draisaitl.
Following a wide-open overtime in which both teams had plenty of chances to win, Draisaitl and Connor McDavid scored in the shootout for Edmonton and Montoya stopped shots by Ryan Getzlaf and Ondrej Kase after Rakell made his.
“When you’re not really in the hunt anymore you’ve got to find ways to keep yourself motivated and we’ve definitely been able to do that,” said McDavid, who had three assists. “I think our last two games have been two of the best that we’ve played in a long time and it’s good to see.”
Draisaitl scored in his third straight game for the Oilers, who have won three in a row and four of five. Montoya made 41 saves, and Anton Slepyshev and Iiro Pakarinen also scored. Michael Cammalleri had two assists, giving him 12 in his last 12 games.
Rakell had his first career hat trick and Getzlaf added a goal and two assists for the Ducks, who have earned at least one point in six consecutive home games. Adam Henrique scored a power-play goal, and Ryan Miller stopped 37 shots.
The Oilers haven’t had much go right this season. They made two trades over the weekend and appear poised to move Patrick Maroon before Monday’s deadline after the forward was held out for the third straight game. Despite the turmoil, they are also delivering some of their best performances right now.
“It shows character in the room,” Montoya said. “The core is committed to this team and they help and lead the way.”
Strome, who had his fifth career multi-goal game, put the Oilers ahead 3-2 at 7:02 of the second period. Hampus Lindholm nearly broke up Draisaitl’s centering pass during a 3-on-2 rush, but Strome was still able to reach back and score. He added his fifth goal in five games by scoring 2:31 into the third for a 4-2 lead.
Getzlaf’s long shot redirected off the back of Yohann Auvitu to cut the lead to 4-3 with six minutes to play, but Pakarinen scored 1:40 later to restore a two-goal margin.
While the Oilers were surging this weekend, the Ducks went on a downward trend. They took only one of a possible four points against Edmonton and Arizona, the bottom two teams in the Pacific Division, and were sluggish from the start Sunday. Getzlaf made a poor pass at the blue line right to Cammalleri in the neutral zone, and he fed Draisaitl for a shot between Miller’s legs to put the Oilers up 1-0 after 13 seconds.
“We played good for four or five games in a row and then this weekend we just kind of were a little bit flat. It’s hard to explain, but it’s just the reality of it. So, proud of the way we came back, got a point, and we’ve got to build off that and get ready for the push here,” said Getzlaf, who made amends by helping set up Rakell’s goal at 1:46 to tie it at 1.
By rallying for one point, Anaheim moved into third place in the Pacific Division with 74 points. The Ducks are one point ahead of Calgary, which dropped to the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
“We pulled our goaltender and scored two goals,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. “You don’t know what that point is going to mean at the end of the year.”
NOTES: Oilers forward Zack Kassian did not return after being clipped by Kase midway through the first period. … Slepyshev scored for the second straight game. … The Oilers acquired forward Pontus Aberg from Nashville in a three-team trade. They sent C Mark Letestu to Columbus as part of the deal.
Oilers: Visit the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night.
Ducks: Host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night.
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