EDMONTON – The playoff picture is looking bleak at best and pretty much non-existent at worst for the Anaheim Ducks, but they haven’t completely called it a season of yet.
Corey Perry scored a pair of power-play goals in the third period as the Ducks snapped a two-game winless streak, defeating the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 on Friday night.
The Ducks broke a 1-1 deadlock with seven and a half minutes to play in the third on a two-man advantage as a Perry shot deflected into the air and landed behind Oiler goalie Jeff Deslauriers before inching in.
Perry scored his second power-play goal of the game less than two minutes later to give the Ducks the win, lifting the puck into the net during a scramble in front.
Edmonton made it interesting at the end as Marc Pouliot scored on a two-man advantage with their goalie pulled and just 20 seconds left, but they couldn’t get the equalizer at the end.
George Parros also scored for the Ducks (35-31-8) who are nonetheless pretty much out of the playoff picture, 11 points back of eighth-place Detroit in the West with just eight games remaining.
“It’s tough to say but our chances have slimmed down and we know that,” Perry said. “But there are a lot of guys that are working for jobs and we’re coming in every night and working hard and continuing to push. That’s our attitude. Never say no. It can be tough mentally but you have to go out there and play your game. It’s not over until you’ve played all 82 games.”
Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle said he expects his team to go out swinging.
“We won’t accept anything less than 110 per cent effort. That’s what we have asked our players. We know it is difficult at this time but there are still people playing for jobs and opportunities for next year, and that’s important.”
Gilbert Brule also put one in for the Oilers (24-43-7) who saw a three-game winning streak snapped to remain 11 points back of Toronto for last place in the NHL.
“It started off looking exactly like it was, two teams out of the playoffs and not caring how much they worked for the night,” said Oilers head coach Pat Quinn, who admitted that it looked like some on his team weren’t as up for the match against Anaheim as their three previous games against playoff-bound squads.
“If we have an attitude like that, even one single guy, then we have losers. That’s the attitude you don’t want any time. You can be in 30th. But you don’t have to like it or play like a 30th place guy.”
Oilers defenceman Jason Strudwick said neither team seemed to have much jump.
“Quite honestly, I felt neither team came out with much of a sense of urgency,” he said. “There were small burst from both squads and they got their power-play goals and that was the difference.”
Anaheim started off the scoring eight minutes in after a scramble in front of the Edmonton net as a couple of Ducks players whiffed on chances in tight before Parros was able to send his third of the season through Deslauriers’ legs.
The shots were an even 10-10 after the first.
Edmonton tied the game 1-1 on what looked like an innocent shot from the outer edge of the face-off circle by the boards from Brule that beat Ducks starter Curtis McElhinney glove-side.
Deslauriers had to make a couple of five-alarm saves midway through the second to keep the score knotted as the Ducks had two great chances while short-handed, but Kyle Chipchura was stopped in tight and then the Oiler goalie stymied Troy Bodie on a breakaway.
Deslauriers was also forced to come up big with four minutes left, stacking the pads to prevent Teemu Selanne from scoring to keep it 1-1 after 40 minutes.
The Oilers had a good chance of their own on the power play to start the third as Mike Comrie had an open net to shoot at, but defender Sheldon Brookbank swatted the puck to safety.
The Oilers begin a four-game road trip in St. Louis on Sunday while the Ducks return home to play Dallas on Monday.
Notes: It was the third of four meetings between the two teams this season. The Ducks won the previous two. . . Ducks leading scorer Ryan Getzlaf sat out with a sore left ankle. Taking his place in the lineup was newly signed former Boston University centre Nick Bonino. Making his NHL debut. . . Patrick O’Sullivan returned to the Edmonton lineup after missing the last seven games following having a fingernail ripped off by Ottawa’s Chris Phillips, He took the place of Sam Gagner, out with a sore hip. . . Duck defenceman Lubomir Visnovsky made his first appearance in Edmonton since being traded to Anaheim on March 3 for blue-liner Ryan Whitney and a sixth-round pick in the 2010 draft. . . The Edmonton Oilers are almost a lock to finish last in the NHL right now, with a magic number of just three of their own losses and Toronto wins to clinch 30th place. . . Earlier in the day, the Oilers signed defenceman Jeff Petry to a two-year NHL entry-level contract. Petry was selected with the 45th overall choice in the 2006 Entry Draft.