Draisaitl kicked off the blitz by splitting the defense and getting a shot through Gibson that the Ducks' Hampus Lindholm forced him to fan on, fooling the goalie. Four straight goals. Three straight series wins. They were still down 3-0 with five minutes to play, but somehow rallied.
Nashville's Ryan Johansen (92), who scored the game-winner, celebrates with his teammates clinching their series. "Everyone knows how good he is in here".
In other words, McDavid's going to get his points. But we're not so sure they don't have to overcome the team in the mirror first. That he could be second in National Hockey League playoff scoring with 16 points, one shy of Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin? It all went back to the goal Bob Nystrom scored in overtime of Game 6 of the 1980 Stanley Cup final against his Philadelphia Flyers, a goal that was clearly offside and nearly certainly would have been called back on video review today. He beats them up for fun. "It's a different group, and we're going to approach it as we do every game, with a game plan".
"I, uh, don't think so".
"If we're not confident then what are we doing here, really?" said Draisaitl, after the optional skate Sunday morning.
The Oilers played with two of their top defencemen.
"We're going back with the preparation to be ready for a big game".
"It was a team effort and we're going to flush this and move on". The puck is skated into the zone, passed off to Draisaitl, he passes it off to receive it back nearly immediately and snaps one home with a nice crisp wrist shot to finish off the hat trick before the second period was even over. There was no panic in the room. Stuff happens sometimes. It's my job and obviously I wasn't good enough tonight as I want to be. "It's good we have two days to regroup". Through 18 total career games (regular season and playoffs), he has 13 goals and 26 points against the Ducks. What matters now is that his teammates rose up and obliterated a very strong Anaheim club that won the Pacific Division and seemed to have gained a mental edge over Edmonton less than 48 hours earlier. Maybe the occasion will be too big for them, though their resilience and competitiveness so far indicate they're ready for the NHL's biggest stage.
A team with little experience or baggage in a Game 7 is about to face a team with a lot of both. Anaheim has lost a Game 7 at home each of the last four years. Anaheim was eliminated in the first round of 2013 (Detroit) and 2016 (Nashville), the second round in 2014 (Los Angeles), and the conference finals in 2015 (Chicago) in Game 7s at the Honda Center. They're sick and exhausted of talking about the fact they've lost four straight since 2013.
"Each year is a new year", said goalie John Gibson. "Pretty simple. The more you look at it, it wasn't our night". Doing the opposite in Game 6, and continuing on the attack, they became the first team in seven years to score five times in a period.
"He's a great player".
"I think we should", said Cogliano.
"Even for us to come out in the second period and get that sixth goal, that was big", Letestu said. Reinhart hadn't played an National Hockey League game since April of 2016. When they play well, there is offense to be found. Success is still possible. "This was as bad a loss circumstances-wise as we've had, but the guys were able to bury and park it".
"We're better than what people give us credit for.", said Mark Letestu. "It's hard to argue with that".
The Ducks don't need to be reminded that in addition to a resilient and fired-up Oilers team that just punk-slapped them 7-1, they are also, once again, face-to-face with the ghosts of failures past. But each game in this series has been its own weird entity.
Ironically, the Ducks could take a lesson from the Oilers when it comes to brushing aside an embarrassing performance. Letestu put a one-timer over Bernier's right pad for a power-play goal with 1:15 remaining in the first.
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