ANAHEIM, Calif. – Ales Hemsky saved the Edmonton Oilers from yet another loss.
Hemsky scored with 6:31 left in the third period and Devan Dubnyk made 19 of his 38 saves in the first, and Edmonton ended a six-game winless streak with a 4-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday night
The Ducks are winless in their last five after a six-game winning streak.
Hemsky’s go-ahead goal was redemption for the Oilers after they blew a two-goal lead following a bad call by the officials that helped Anaheim get back into the game.
Bobby Ryan scored a power-play goal just eight seconds after an unjust delay-of-game penalty veteran referee Stephen Walkom called against rookie Theo Peckham, and teammate Saku Koivu scored 22 seconds later to tie it.
“Momentum swings all the time during games, and sometimes it’s hard to come back from that,” defenceman Tom Gilbert said. “Refs make mistakes sometimes, and you’ve just got to work through it. We came in here between the second and third periods and we just told ourselves to continue what we were doing, keep pressing them, and the puck was going to go in the net for us. And that’s how it turned out.”
The Oilers, who blew a 3-0 lead in a 4-3 shootout loss to Phoenix on Friday night, killed off Anaheim’s first four power plays before getting burned on the next one.
Walkom sent Peckham to the penalty box with 3:35 left in the second period, ruling that he had cleared the puck over the glass in the Edmonton zone. But replays clearly showed that it went into the crowd through a hole in the glass that photographers use to get a clear shot.
“It’s like winning the lottery. You don’t think it’ll ever happen to you,” Peckham said. “It’s funny. I was skating around in warmups and I was looking at one of those holes and I was telling someone: ‘Hey, don’t pucks ever go through these holes?’ And sure enough, I got two minutes for delay of game—and I was seeing red. I was sitting in the penalty box and thinking back to the warmups. And after I calmed down, I thought it was pretty ironic.”
Walkom even asked the photographer sitting there about it, but wouldn’t reverse the call despite Peckham’s vehement protest.
“It is not a reviewable play. Our video review process doesn’t allow us to do stuff like that,” said Bob Hall, NHL senior officiating manager.
“What happened in real time on the ice was the puck went out of play. The referee that was right in the corner didn’t see how it left the ice. He went and conferred with two of the other officials on the ice. They put the pieces of the puzzle together and they came out with it was shot out—which we all know now in seeing it on the replay that it was not the correct call.”
The Ducks capitalized with Ryan’s ninth goal after Dubnyk stopped their first 29 shots on net. Ryan was standing 20 feet out in the slot when he redirected rookie Cam Fowler’s wrist shot from the left point over Dubnyk’s left shoulder. Koivu fed off the momentum, converting Dan Sexton’s centring pass for his ninth of the season after Jason Blake took the puck away from Gilbert behind the net.
But Hemsky beat Jonas Hiller high to the stick side from close range for his sixth goal after getting the puck in the right circle from Dustin Penner and speeding past Anaheim defenceman Toni Lydman.
Sam Gagne and Taylor Hall scored 1:41 apart in the second period and Penner had two assists against his former team, helping Edmonton win for only the third time in its last 17 games. Gilbert was credited with an empty-net goal with 16 seconds left after Anaheim’s Corey Perry made a pass from behind the Edmonton net that went the length of the ice into his own net.
The frustrated Ducks have taken 90 shots on net in their last two games and have two regulation losses to show for it.
“It doesn’t really matter how many you get on net. It matters how many you get behind them,” Anaheim defenceman Andy Sutton said. “We have to focus on getting better traffic, some screens in front and maybe some better shots, too.”
Dubnyk made his fourth start of the season and second in a row in place of four-time all-star Nikolai Khabibulin (groin). Dubnyk’s other three starts resulted in overtime losses, two of them in shootouts.
“It’s exciting for me,” Dubnyk said. “You never want to see a guy get injured, and we’re all hoping he comes back soon. But that’s why you play so hard to be the number two goalie—so that if something does happen, you’re the guy and not the one they call up to be the backup. I worked as hard as I could to get to this spot, and I’m just going to enjoy the chance to play.”