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Ducks eliminate Oilers, advance to Conference finals

12 May 2017

After sustaining a 7-1 drubbing in Game 6 that ensured this second-round best-of-seven series would go the distance, the Anaheim Ducks showed veteran poise to take Game 7 over the Edmonton Oilers 2-1 Wednesday night to move on to the Western Conference finals.

Nashville's Pekka Rinne ran Anaheim out of the first round last season for the second time in his career, and he returns with the surging Predators for Game 1 of the Western Conference finals on Friday.

"We have to play like we did tonight, and even better". "We are happy to win this one, but the job is far from done".

Ritchie beat Cam Talbot 3:21 into the third period, his second career playoff goal putting the Ducks ahead in a Game 7 for the first time in five years - and ahead of the Oilers for the first time in almost 193 minutes since late in Game 4. Anaheim had lost five straight Game 7 appearances overall since 2006, but the Ducks played a stellar defensive game against Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl before winning it on power forward Nick Ritchie's third-period goal. The Ducks kept the pressure on, with Ritchie and Rickard Rakell each getting great looks. "We got a break there. I looked up, shot it and saw it sneak in". Even with the additional skater in crunch time and the desperation that comes with looming elimination, the Oilers couldn't muster the tying goal.

"I think we have to start over", defenseman Hampus Lindholm said.

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NOTES: With Oilers D Andrej Sekera (undisclosed injury) out for the series, Eric Gryba was active for the second straight game. … The Ducks scratched RW Patrick Eaves (foot) and D Kevin Bieksa (lower body).

The lead was enough for Gibson, who was a brick wall for the entire game outside of Theodore's one miscue.

Getzlaf also said this particular party is already over, however. We had to do that tonight. We gave up an early goal and gave up a lot of goals the other night.

"It feels good. We grinded hard tonight. Our goaltender played unbelievable".

The Ducks appeared to tie it with a little less than six minutes to go on the first, when a pass back to the point was corralled by Cam Fowler before he fired it past Talbot, but one linesman quickly ruled it had crossed the blue line before Fowler touched it.

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"Last time we played them we gave them the first two here, and we don't want to do that again", Cogliano said of the Ducks' playoff loss last season to the Predators. We have to have that approach to the game. We could've gotten down on ourselves after letting the first goal in.

Anaheim had several more chances in a second period in which they outshot Edmonton 16-3, but the Cogliano strike was all they would get.

Ritchie's goal marked the first time the Ducks led at any point in their five Game 7s since 2013. I try to think of it as, we're in it as a team, the organization and the fans. We were out-changing them, had some momentum swings and our crowd really got into it.

"I have to credit those guys for their effort and what they did in that specific situation". We need the energy from the fans. "We did it in the right way".

Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf expressed a sense of triumph and relief after the win. They had been eliminated from the postseason in a Game 7 at home each of the previous four seasons.

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Ducks eliminate Oilers, advance to Conference finals