EDMONTON, Alberta (AP)—It took some time, but the Anaheim Ducks now have their playoff hopes in their hands.
Rob Niedermayer had a pair of goals, and Sheldon Brookbank and Chris Pronger also scored for the Ducks, who have won seven of eight to move into seventh place in the tight West race. The Ducks and Nashville both have 84 points.
“We’re in a group of five teams that are competing and battling for two positions and we’re just giving ourselves a chance to live another day and that’s all you can do,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said.
Scott Niedermayer said the key is to keep each game simple and not get overwhelmed by the pressure of the playoff race.
“We were not in the playoff picture for a while,” he said. “We’re just kind of focusing on playing well right now. We’re just putting everything else aside, forgetting about the standings and things like that. Forget about who’s doing what and just plugging away, and that’s what we have to keep doing.”
“A lot of our guys played really well,” Oilers captain Ethan Moreau said. “At this point in the season if there is anything you can grasp on to you do it. There were some positives, we got some help out of town and there are still 10 points available. I’d like to believe if we continue to play the style of hockey we did tonight that we will have some success in the last five games.”
Anaheim went ahead 2-1 just 33 seconds into the second period with a nice three-way passing play with a man-advantage. Teemu Selanne sent a pass to Scott Niedermayer, who beat Roloson glove side.
The Ducks pushed the lead to 3-1 at 5:13 of the second with another power-play goal. Pronger scored on a shot from the point while Edmonton’s Tom Gilbert serving a double-minor for high-sticking Bobby Ryan.
Anaheim looked to have put the game out of reach late in the second when Scott Niedermayer dished the puck to Rob at the top of the circle, and his high shot seemed to catch Roloson off guard to make it 4-1 after 40 minutes.
Edmonton made a game of it in the closing minutes with goals 68 seconds apart. Grebeshkov pinched deep and sent a rebound through Hiller’s legs with 3:27 to play, and Stortini scored when Roloson was off for an extra attacker.
Edmonton called for a measurement of Selanne’s stick with 2:11 left but received a penalty themselves when it was deemed legal, leading to a power-play, empty-net goal by Rob Niedermayer.
“We had what we thought was some reliable information,” Oilers coach Craig MacTavish said. “On a visual, it didn’t even look close to me. I was so sure that I made the call and it was obviously a terrible mistake. You have to be sure and I thought I had enough information so it’s a terrible feeling.
“It sabotaged what was looking like was going to be a heck of a comeback.”
Carlyle said MacTavish took a real risk with so little time left in a one-goal game.
“You’d better be 100 percent sure,” he said. “The curve is really something you can’t call any more because it’s 3/4 -inch and it’s a big curve. Teemu is right on the edge. We make sure, and it’s part of our trainers’ responsibility that he plays with a legal stick.”
: Roloson made his 33rd consecutive start and became the oldest goalie in NHL history to appear in at least 60 games, doing it at 39. … The Ducks started the season without much recent success in Edmonton, with wins in just two of 16, but Anaheim won both visits this season. … Oilers D Theo Peckham was inserted into the lineup to replace fellow defenseman Ladislav Smid, who will miss the remainder of the season because of a broken hand sustained Sunday during a loss to Minnesota. … The Ducks were missing D Bret Hedican (back spasms).