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Bad first period start hurts Ducks in loss to Oilers to force Game 7

Bad start costs Ducks in Game 6 loss to Oilers

EDMONTON — Ryan Getzlaf pointed out exactly to when things started to go wrong in the Anaheim Ducks’ 7-1 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday in Game 6 of their Western Conference semifinal series.

“The puck drop,” he said.

Ducks goalie John Gibson allowed three goals on his first six shots and the Oilers never looked back, sending the series to a seventh and deciding game back in Anaheim on Wednesday.

“I wasn’t very good,” Gibson said. “I have to come up with a couple of saves and maybe it’s different, maybe it’s not. As it went on they kind of took it to us, it wasn’t our best. I wasn’t as good as I wanted to be and I kind of let them down.”

Jonathan Bernier allowed the remaining four goals and finished with 25 saves.

It was a major momentum shift from Game 5 on Friday, when the Ducks pulled off a miracle in the dying minutes and erased a 3-0 deficit with three goals while Gibson was on the bench for an extra attacker, sending the game to double overtime and an eventual 4-3 Ducks win.

But Anaheim forward Andrew Cogliano said it isn’t the 7-1 score that mattered in Game 6, just the result.

“It could have been 20-to-1, really. It doesn’t matter,” he said. “It’s good we have two days to regroup. I think there are a few guys who need to do some soul searching, including myself.

“We need to collectively bring our game up, not the same guys over and over again.”

Getzlaf, who was held off the scoresheet after recording 10 points in the first five games of the series, said the Ducks have faced adversity against the Oilers earlier in this round when they trailed Edmonton 2-0 to start the series, but found a way to fight back from it then, and can again.

“It’s the same as we did after Game 2,” he said. “We lost the first two games at home, both obviously devastating losses. It doesn’t matter what the scoreboard says, in the playoffs, a loss is a loss and it doesn’t really matter. We need to respond the same way we did then. We dealt with that accordingly and have dealt with things really well along the way.

“We’ll be counting on that for Game 7.”

The Ducks recent playoff history doesn’t point in their favour, however. In each of the last four seasons, Anaheim was able to grab 3-2 leads, only to then lose Game 6 on the road and then return home to also lose out in Game 7.

“I look at it that it’s not the same group. I wasn’t here, so don’t pin any of the Game 7’s on me,” chuckled Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle, who returned for his second stint with the team at the start of this season. “It’s a different group, and we’re going to approach it as we do every game, with a game plan. We’re not afraid to go into our building and play a solid hockey game.”

Added Ducks defenceman Cam Fowler: “We fought for home ice in the playoffs for a specific reason and we need to go back and use it to our advantage.”

As recently as last season, the Ducks lost the first two games of their series with Nashville at home before rallying to win the next three contests. They then lost Game 6 and 7 to drop the series.

Shane Jones, The Canadian Press

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