EDMONTON -- It was two teams playing out the string Sunday night in Edmonton, but sadly for the Oilers they were stuck at the wrong end of it.
While the Anaheim Ducks are merely preparing themselves for the postseason, the Oilers must now accept the fact they'll be on the outside looking in. Again.
They were mathematically eliminated by a 3-1 loss -- their seventh defeat in the last eight games.
The Anaheim victory was a much-needed boost for a team that had been spinning its wheels the last two weeks.
The Ducks are comfortably in second place in the Western Conference, some 11 spots above the lowly Oilers, but had lost four in a row and five of seven games heading into the contest. San Jose had been stuck in no man's land for the last month -- it couldn't catch first-place Chicago and couldn't be caught by third place Vancouver -- and seemed to have lost some interest down the stretch.
Oilers forward Taylor Hall scored 60 seconds after the opening faceoff, looking off goalie Jonas Hiller on a two-on-one break before snapping one through his five-hole, to give Edmonton an unexpected lead.
The Oilers almost held it through the first intermission, but a penalty to Mike Brown gave Anaheim a faceoff in Edmonton's end with five seconds left in the period. Those five seconds were more than enough time as the Ducks tied it on Cam Fowler's goal at 19:58.
Another late goal, by Kyle Palmieri at 19:03 of the second period, gave the Ducks a 2-1 lead at the second intermission.
Corey Perry made it 3-1 midway through the third.
In an interesting scheduling quirk, the Oilers and Ducks will play again Monday.
NOTES: Teemu Selanne played his 900th game with the Anaheim Ducks. ... Anaheim is 13-2-0 in its last 15 games against Edmonton. ... Former Oilers defenseman Sheldon Souray led all Ducks defensemen in plus-minus at plus 23 before Sunday's game, while former Oilers center Andrew Cogliano led all Anaheim forwards at plus-14. ... Oilers C Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is done for the season and will undergo shoulder surgery next week to repair a torn labrum. The six-month recovery time means he'll miss training camp and possibly the first few games of next season. ... Injured veterans Ales Hemsky (foot) and Eric Belanger (groin) aren't expected to draw back in, either, as the Oilers take a closer look at their youth. ... Oilers D Ryan Whitney was a healthy scratch for the third straight game. The impending UFA appears to have played his last game as an Oiler. ... Edmonton closes the season with five games in seven days against all three Western Conference division leaders.