Adam Larsson, Mark Letestu lead Edmonton Oilers past Anaheim Ducks for big road win

By Dennis Bernstein, The Sports Xchange

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Getting an unexpected jolt of offense from one of their less-heralded players, the Edmonton Oilers used a four-goal third period to claim an important playoff road victory.

Adam Larsson, who had only four goals in 79 regular-season games, scored twice Wednesday, and Mark Letestu added two power-play goals as the Oilers defeated the Anaheim Ducks 5-3 in Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinal series.


Leon Draisaitl contributed an empty-net goal and three assists, and Cam Talbot made 33 saves for the Oilers.

Ryan Getzlaf registered a goal and an assist for the Ducks, and Ryan Kesler added two assists. John Gibson made 27 saves.

Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is scheduled for Friday in Anaheim.

Larsson was an impact player in the Oilers' third-period bonanza, scoring off a rush down the right wing and then when left unchecked deep in slot of the Anaheim defensive zone.


"It's nice to get two goals, but it doesn't mean much if we don't win the game," Larsson said. "We have a long way to go to win this series. Anaheim is a very tough team."

Like Larsson, Oilers coach Todd McLellan expects a long, difficult series against the Ducks.

"I thought this was a very well-played close game against two very good teams," McLellan said. "Larsson isn't Bobby Orr, but he took advantage of opportunities when presented to him."

Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle was matter-of-fact about the loss, his team's first in the playoffs and its first regulation loss in 19 games dating back to March 10 at St. Louis.

"The Oilers won the battle of the special teams tonight," Carlyle said. "We need more emotionally and physically from some players in Game 2."

Carlyle disclosed that defenseman Kevin Bieska sustained a lower-body injury during the game and will be evaluated Thursday to determine the extent of the injury. Bieksa played only 7:03 after averaging 16:42 of ice time in Round 1 against Calgary.

Getzlaf concurred with Carlyle's assessment of the difference in the game and was more specific about which facet proved decisive. The Ducks captain knows his team must be far more disciplined in order to turn the series.


"We're getting five, six power plays a night (against us), and we're not doing well on the penalty kill," Getzlaf said.

After blowing a 3-1 lead, Edmonton went back on top 4-3 on Larsson's second of the game at 15:20 of the third period. Larsson rushed the puck and as he was about to go behind the Anaheim net, he tossed the puck toward the front of the net. The pass glanced off Ducks defenseman Josh Manson and past Gibson.

Anaheim tied the game at 3 by scoring two goals in a space of 1:25 earlier in the third period. Patrick Eaves scored his second goal of the playoffs at 9:22 on a rebound off a Brandon Montour shot, and Jakob Silfverberg converted a goalmouth scramble for his third goal of the postseason.

Edmonton went up 3-1 on Larsson's first goal of the playoffs at 8:03 of the third period. Draisaitl penetrated deep into the Anaheim zone, and with the Ducks backing off, he fed Larsson, who was left alone in the slot for a one-timer that cleanly beat Gibson.

The Oilers took a 2-1 lead on Letestu's second goal of the game and third tally of the playoffs at 6:23 of the third period. The goal was similar to his first score, as he converted a rebound of a Draisaitl shot. Connor McDavid earned the secondary assist.


The Ducks took a 1-0 lead on Getzlaf's fourth goal of the playoffs on the power play at 37 seconds of the second period.

Edmonton tied the game at 1 when Letestu scoring on a five-on-three power play at 6:22 of the middle period.

NOTES: Edmonton scratched D Mark Fayne, D Griffin Reinhart, C Matt Hendricks, RW Iiro Pakarinen, C Anton Lander, LW Jujhar Khaira, D Eric Gryba, D Jordan Oesterle, D Joey Laleggia and G Nick Ellis. ... Anaheim did not dress D Korbinian Holzer, D Simon Depres, RW Jared Boll and D Sami Vatanen. ... Anaheim signed LW Jack Kopacka to a three-year entry level contract Monday. A fourth round pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, Kopacka set career highs in goals (30) and points (49) in the 2016-17 Ontario Hockey League regular season before adding five goals and 11 points in 11 playoff games.

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