ANAHEIM (AP) — Matt Beleskey scored his 14th goal and Frederik Andersen made 21 saves in the Anaheim Ducks’ fifth consecutive victory, 2-1, over the spiraling Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday night.
Ryan Kesler also scored for the NHL-leading Ducks, who held off last-place Edmonton’s late charge for their eighth win in 10 games. Anaheim (19-6-5) is three points ahead of Detroit in the overall standings.
The Ducks’ last 12 victories were by just one goal, and they hung on to that slim lead after Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored early in the third for Edmonton, which has lost 13 of 14.
Former Ducks goalie Viktor Fasth stopped 32 shots for the Oilers (7-17-5), who are tied with Carolina for the fewest points in the NHL.
The Ducks won their second straight game without leading goal-scorer Corey Perry, who is out until January with a sprained knee. Major injuries have been commonplace this season for Anaheim, which has already lost 192 man-games with a quarter of its opening-night roster on the injured list.
After Anaheim took an early 2-0 lead, Andersen hung onto it with a series of sharp saves. The Danish goalie even earned an assist on Kesler’s goal.
Edmonton has just one victory since Nov. 9 and has fallen 24 points behind Anaheim in the Western Conference race.
Beleskey put the Ducks ahead during a first-period power play, converting a one-timer after sharp passes from Kyle Palmieri and Rickard Rakell. Beleskey is heading toward unrestricted free agency with the best start of his career, emerging as a top-10 NHL goal-scorer.
Midway through the second period, Hampus Lindholm sent a long outlet pass to Kesler, who outskated Taylor Hall and beat Fasth with a clean wrist shot for his 10th goal in 30 games with his new team. Kesler has four goals in three games after a nine-game drought.
Nugent-Hopkins erased Andersen’s shutout bid in the opening minute of the third period, scoring his seventh goal after Hall forced a turnover by Josh Manson deep in Anaheim’s zone.
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