ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Radek Dvorak scored two goals, Jonas Hiller made 27 saves after missing four games because of an illness, and the Anaheim Ducks beat the Edmonton Oilers 2-1 on Monday night.
The Ducks moved closer to their second Pacific Division title in franchise history and first since their 2006-07 Stanley Cup championship season. They lead Pittsburgh by one point for the NHL’s second-best overall record and trail Chicago by three with eight games remaining. Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim’s captain and leading scorer, missed his third straight game because of a leg injury.
Defenseman Nick Schultz ended a 58-game goal drought and Devan Dubnyk stopped 36 shots for the Oilers, who haven’t been to the playoffs since losing to Carolina in Game 7 of the 2006 Stanley Cup finals. They are within striking distance, but have lost three straight after a season-best five-game winning streak
The Ducks were nursing a 1-0 lead when Schultz chased the puck to the left boards in the Anaheim zone and let fly with a 45-foot slap shot that found a crack of daylight between Hiller’s right shoulder and the crossbar. It was his first goal since Feb. 26, 2012.
The Ducks regained the lead when Dvorak converted a rebound of Daniel Winnik’s 30-foot wrist shot for his third goal in five games since signing as a free agent on March 26. It was the 20th career multi-goal game for Dvorak, with Saku Koivu getting the secondary assist on both.
Rookie Justin Schultz, the Oilers’ top-scoring defenseman, played his first game against the organization that selected him in the second round of the 2008 draft. He chose not to sign his entry-level contract with the Ducks and became a free agent after leaving the University of Wisconsin, eventually signing a two-year entry-level contract with the Oilers.
He started the game on the blue line alongside Nick Schultz, who is no relation. At first, many in the crowd of 15,148 were confused and booed Nick Schultz every time he touched the puck before they realized they were targeting the wrong guy.
In the first meeting of the season between the teams, the Ducks got their goal at 17:21 of the opening period when Dvorak pounced on a rebound of Ben Lovejoy’s slap shot from the right point and put a backhander past Dubnyk’s stick.
Edmonton took nine shots on net before Anaheim recorded its first, a 45-foot wrist shot by Dvorak that Dubnyk gloved at the 10:08 mark. By the time the period ended, the Ducks had a 15-11 advantage.
The Oilers, who came in with the league’s second-best power-play conversion percentage (23.2), squandered their first opportunity as Jordan Eberle was sent off for interference on the faceoff just 2 seconds after Anaheim’s Matt Beleskey got an interference penalty of his own. They didn’t get another power play until 15:24 of the second, and that one also was cut short by 18 seconds when Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was sent off for tripping former Oiler Andrew Cogliano.
The Oilers finished their road trip 1-3-0. They will play seven of their final nine games at home, including a back-to-back set against the Ducks April 21-22. It’s the only time they will play home games on consecutive nights during the lockout-shortened 48-game schedule.
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