Oilers 5, Ducks 3.

The Ducks played so well, outshooting Edmonton 54-20, that it was hard to fathom a loss — or its implications in the Western Conference standings. And yet they did lose, getting displaced by the very same Oilers for seventh place.

The 54 shots set a franchise record — which merely added to the Oilers’ elation. They surrounded Dwayne Roloson after the goaltender made 51 saves (three shy of his career high), hopped up and down on the ice, and continued their Stanley Cup final-worthy celebration into the locker room.

The postgame vibe in the home dressing room was better than it has been in this mostly disappointing season. Though it was the Ducks’ first loss after five straight wins, there were more positives than negatives to draw from. Save the final score.

“It’s a tough loss. We’re going to feel it for a little while,” said Chris Pronger. “But you’ve got to put it out of your mind and make sure that we’re ready to come to the rink tomorrow to work.”

Dustin Penner (who was roundly booed) and Francisco Pisani converted two turnovers into two goals on the Oilers’ first two shots of the game. Ryan Getzlaf scored off precision passes from Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan to make it 2-1 at 5:54 of the first and, with the Ducks on a power play, he was in perfect position to poke in a Pronger shot off the post 15 seconds into the second period.

But back-to-back goals by Edmonton at 2:40 and 2:49, by Penner and Kyle Brodziak, spelled the end to Giguere’s night and the Ducks’ comeback chances.Take away the four goals the Oilers scored on seven shots against Giguere, and the Ducks could well be flying to Denver today after their best game of the season.

Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said that “we shouldn’t be in a position to have to score five goals to win,” but stopped short of pinning the blame on Giguere.

“You could point the finger at that (goaltending), but that’s not what we’re about,” Carlyle said. “Our power play could have delivered; our penalty kill could have held them off the scoreboard. We couldn’t have turned the puck over. We win and lose as a team.”

Jonas Hiller stopped all 12 shots he faced before being pulled with 1:01 to play. He was supported by a procession of scoring chances in front of the other net, but Roloson always seemed to be there, his glove in just the right place.

“For me, it’s just focusing on every puck that is coming to the net,” Roloson said. “If something happens and a couple of knuckleballs come flying in — you never know what is going to happen. They get through or they miss. You just need to make sure you focus on every shot all the way through. It doesn’t matter how many.”

Added the 26-year-old Penner, “he’s one of those goalies where he builds on every shot. The more shots he gets, the more he gets zoned in.”

Added 50-year-old Oilers coach Craig MacTavish, “I haven’t seen a performance like that since Pete Peeters beat the Quebec Nordiques when I was playing with the Bruins.”

And that’s why 54 shots weren’t enough: The nearest comparison is to a goalie who won 31 straight games in 1983 (and just happens to be Edmonton’s goaltenders’ coach).

Game summaryhere; event summaryhere.

This entry was posted in Anaheim Ducks/NHL by J.P. Hoornstra. Bookmark the permalink.

About J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra covers the Dodgers, Angels and Major League Baseball for the Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Whittier Daily News and Redlands Daily Facts. Before taking the beat in 2012, J.P. covered the NHL for four years. UCLA gave him a degree once upon a time; when he graduated on schedule, he missed getting Arnold Schwarzenegger's autograph on his diploma by five months.

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