ANAHEIM – Adam Larsson, acquired by Edmonton in the off-season to bolster its defense, expanded his role Wednesday night.
Because of that, the Oilers grabbed a 1-0 lead in the best-of-7 Western Conference semifinals over the Ducks.
Larsson put Edmonton ahead, 3-1, but then did his best work with 4:40 left. He surged past Cam Fowler and let a shot go wehen he was just going behind the net. It bounced off the skate of Hampus Lindholm and past John Gibson.
Leon Draisaitl added an empty-net goal to wrap up the 5-3 Edmonton win.
The Ducks thus lost their first playoff game and took their first loss of any kind since a 4-3 OT loss to these Oilers on April 1. They hadn’t lost a regulation game since March 10.
Larsson scored only four goals in 79 games for the Oilers during the regular season but was a plus-21. They got him from New Jersey in exchange for former first-overall pick Taylor Hall.
A tightly played game suddenly took flight in the third period. The Oilers went ahead 3-1 on Mark Letestu’s second power play goal, following a holding penalty by Jakob Silfverberg on Connor McDavid. Then Leon Draisaitl, who scoredf eight points on the Ducks on the regular season, got his third asisst of the game when he fed Adam Larsson.
The Ducks did not waste much time storming back from that two-goal deficit. Patrick Eaves got a tap-in after Brandon Montour’s shot rebounded off goalie Cam Talbot. That play began with Ryan Getzlaf’s clean faceoff win.
Then the Ducks, within a minute, generated an odd-man rush that culminated in Silfverberg’s goal off a shot by Andrew Cogliano. The officials reviewed in but let the goal stand. All that happened in the first 10:57 of the third period.
The Ducks got Cam Fowler back for his first playoff game, but again skated without Sami Vatanen. Then Kevin Bieksa had to leave the ice early in the first period after he collided with Shea Theodore, but came back before the stress built up.
The first period was played chin-to-chin, with…