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Instant Reaction: Oilers cruise past Ducks and sweep season series for second time in three years

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Photo credit:© Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Ryley Delaney
18 days ago
There are rarely “gimmies” on a National Hockey League schedule, but the Edmonton Oilers’ 6-1 win against the Anaheim Ducks on this fine Saturday afternoon was absolutely one of those games.
With the win, the Oilers moved to 94 points, just four behind the Vancouver Canucks (who are idle on Saturday) for the lead in the Pacific Division. The Canucks have an extra game played.
The party got started early, as Leon Draisaitl broke into the Ducks zone and made a terrific drop ss to Adam Henrique. The former Duck was stopped on the first shot but pounded back the rebound for his fourth goal as an Oiler. It’s starting to feel like this was a pretty good trade for the Oilers.
On the second Oilers’ goal, Connor McDavid made a terrific play in the defensive zone to poke the puck loose and he was off to the races. He beat his defender out wide, changed the angle of his shot, and beat John Gibson for his 28th goal of the season. It would not be his only one.
Late in the first period, the puck found its way to Mattias Ekholm, who just straight-up beat Gibson with a slap shot for his eighth goal of the season. Picking up the assists were Sam Carrick and Vincent Desharnais. Carrick now has a goal and three points as an Oiler, while Desharnais has hit double-digit points for the first time in his career.
McDavid scored his second of the game and his 29th of the season after a sick pass by Leon Draisaitl left the best player in the world all alone in the net. Of course, he made no mistake, as Evan Bouchard picked up the other assist.
Warren Foegele expanded on his career-high in both goals and assists as Mattias Ekholm made a terrific pass to Foegele, who was along the blue line. He snuck in for the breakaway, and “Contract McLovin” made no mistake, scoring his 17th of the season.
Can Zach Hyman hit 60 goals this season? Well, a one-timer goal to make it a 6-0 game is a good start, with McDavid and Bouchard picking up the assists.
Unfortunately for Calvin Pickard, his shutout bid ended late in the third period, as Alex Killorn had a terrific deflection to beat the backup netminder. There have been several instances this season where Pickard has had a shutout late in the game, just for the other team to sneak one by him.

Things worth mentioning…

The Oilers yet again swept their season series with the Ducks. This is the second time in three years that the Oilers have swept this season series. The only win by the Ducks over the Oilers in those three seasons came in December of 2022 when Anaheim managed a 4-3 victory in Edmonton despite being outshot 49 to 17. Following Saturday’s win, the Oilers are 10-1 against Anaheim over the last three seasons with an absurd goal differential of 63 to 16.
Connor McDavid picked up two goals and three points in this one. That brought him to 125 points for the season and briefly moved him into the league lead in points. Both the Colorado Avalanche and Tampa Bay Lightning are in action on Saturday, with Nathan MacKinnon already tying McDavid early in their game. We’ll see where he is when the night ends.
Brett Kulak played just one shift before an injury kept him off the ice for the rest of the game. He was hit in the helmet with a puck, and the team hasn’t provided an update yet on his status. Hopefully, this isn’t a major issue for Kulak, who’s been a rock on Edmonton’s third pair this season. If he does need to miss any time, Philip Broberg would likely be the one to come up from AHL Bakersfield. 
Vincent Desharnais had a big game on Edmonton’s blueline. The big man logged 21:26 and picked up two assists.  
Mattias Ekholm also put forward a big game in Kulak’s absence. He scored a goal, picked up two assists, and was a plus-five on the afternoon. 
Up next: The competition gets tougher on Monday, as the Oilers will head to St. Louis to face the Blues. The last game in Missouri didn’t go well, but hopefully, this time, it’s different!

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