EDMONTON â€” The Edmonton Oilers made too many mistakes, especially early in the game, on Sunday night.
Leading their second-round playoff series against the Ducks 2-0 and at home for Game 3, the Oilers were unable to take a stranglehold, falling 6-3 to Anaheim.
Anaheim scored just 25 seconds into the contest and on three of its first six shots. The Oilers trailed 3-0 before the game was 12 minutes old.
“We weren’t sharp enough, individual miscues were plenty,” said Oilers coach Todd McLellan. “You couldn’t even shorten the bench â€” there were that many (players) that were erring on a consistent basis.
Edmonton got out of its early funk and tied the game 3-3 midway through the second period on a gorgeous goal by Connor McDavid, but Anaheim quickly squashed the Oilers’ momentum.
Chris Wagner responded just 48 seconds later with a goal that Oilers goalie Cam Talbot would like to have back. Then, a goal that survived a video review despite appearing to be off-side five minutes into the third took all the wind out of Edmonton’s sails.
“We’re now experiencing what it’s like to play against a very desperate, hard, hungry team. We know we can be better than that. But the details will have to get a lot more polished up,” said McLellan.
Edmonton lost Game 4 of the opening round against the San Jose Sharks by a humiliating 7-0 result, but bounced back from that to take the series 4-2.
That experience has this group a little more confident that one bad outing does not decide a series.
“Just chalk it up to a bad game,” McDavid said. “We were bad all over the ice and got beat all over the ice. It’s almost like that (7-0 loss in the) San Jose game. You try and learn from it and wash it away.
“It’s a long series. We are still up 2-1. We are still in a decent spot.”
The odds are certainly still in the Oilers favour, despite the less than stellar overall showing in Game 3.
Teams which have won the first two games of a series on the road have compiled a 69-18 record all-time among NHL best-of-seven series, and when leading a best-of-seven series two games to none the Oilers have a series record of 14-0.
That said, the Ducks have erased 0-2 series deficits twice since 2014, although they ended up eventually losing the series in both cases.
“We’ll learn from this and take Game 4 on,” said Oilers forward Patrick Maroon. “We are still in a really good situation, still up 2-1. We knew they were going to come and that we weren’t going to win all of them.”
The series remains in Edmonton for Game 4 on Wednesday.
Shane Jones, The Canadian Press