Edmonton forced a Game 7 in their series with Anaheim with a 7-1 victory Sunday. Photo courtesy Edmonton Oilers via Twitter
EDMONTON, Alberta -- The Edmonton Oilers finally built enough of a lead that the Anaheim Ducks couldn't recover.
After blowing a 2-0 advantage in Game 4 and a 3-0 lead late in the third period in Game 5, the Oilers came out flying, scoring five first-period goals en route to a 7-1 win on Sunday in Game 6 of a Western Conference semifinal series.
Edmonton evened the series and forced a decisive Game 7 on Wednesday in Anaheim. The winner will face the Nashville Predators in the Western Conference finals.
Ducks killer Leon Draisaitl, who now has 20 points against Anaheim in 11 regular-season and playoff games in 2016-17, paced the attack with a hat trick plus two assists. Mark Letestu also had two goals and two assists.
By the 8:25 mark of the first period, Ducks starting goalie John Gibson was yanked after giving up three goals -- two from Draisaitl, one from Zack Kassian -- all through his legs.
Draisaitl gave the Oilers the lead at 2:45. He came in on a break and was hooked from behind by Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm. The hook forced Draisaitl to fan on his shot, but the resulting change-up fooled Gibson and slid under his stick.
Draisaitl struck again at 7:22, taking a pass from Milan Lucic, spinning, then sliding a backhand through Gibson.
Kassian made it 3-0 just 1:03 after Draisaitl's second goal.
Backup Anaheim goalie Jonathan Bernier didn't fare much better, as Letestu beat him twice before the period ended, the first at 11:39 and the second on the power play at 18:49 to increase the margin to 5-0.
The Oilers didn't show mercy in the second period, with Anton Slepyshev scoring just 45 seconds in on a feed from Patrick Maroon.
Rickard Rakell got one for the Ducks at 8:56.
Draisaitl's third goal, a power-play marker at 4:33, spurred a shower of caps, toques and other hats from the stands.
The Oilers were without two minute-chewing defensemen. Andrej Sekera, who took a hard hit from Ryan Getzlaf in Game 5, was ruled out for the series. Oscar Klefbom, who hadn't missed a game this year, gave it a try in warm-ups but couldn't go.
With Klefbom and Sekera gone, Eric Gryba, who hadn't played since Game 1 of the first round, and call-up Griffin Reinhart were dressed.
In a game in which the Oilers offense exploded, Connor McDavid -- the league's leading scorer in the regular season -- was held without a point.
NOTES: Ducks D Kevin Bieksa, who has been out since he was forced to leave during Game 2, missed Game 6 due to injury. RW Patrick Eaves missed his third straight game with a lower-body injury. RW Ondrej Kase missed his second straight game. ... The Oilers scratched D Mark Fayne, C Matt Hendricks, RW Iiro Pakarinen and LW Jujhar Khaira. ... The Ducks scratched D Clayton Stoner, D Simon Despres, RW Logan Shaw and RW Jared Boll. ... Ducks C Ryan Getzlaf and RW Jakob Silfverberg have set a new team standard: This year marks the first time in Anaheim playoff history that two players had at least seven goals through the first nine games of the postseason.