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May 12, 2017 | 6:50pm ET
The #Fix was in...
By Hannah Spraker

ANAHEIM, CA -- What. A. Series. After two losses at home, two wins on the road, a historic Game 5 comeback and an embarrassing Game 6 flop, the Ducks have done it... they’ve finally won a Game 7 at home.

You could not have asked for better entertainment. This series had literally everything, and before I dive into that, I have to say, hats off to both teams and coaches. This was an amazing series and a battle to the finish.

Ducks fans rejoiced that “the curse is over,” whilst Oilers fans continue to debate goaltender interference in Game 5 and claim the series was “fixed.” Well to both of you, chill.

Complaining won’t change the outcome, and the streak of the Duck’s curse may be broken, but they still need 8 wins for a Cup, so lets not get ahead of ourselves here.

Don’t be that guy; no one likes that guy.

So here are the Sprake-Notes of the Ducks/Oilers Round 2 series:

• Let’s talk about the Captains. Ryan Getzlaf has been absolutely phenomenal in the post season. In this series alone he had 5 goals and 5 assists for a total of 10 points in 7 games. 114 points in 115 career playoff games, he is showing day in and day out that he is hungry for the Cup, leading his team by example, and proving he deserves to keep the Captaincy.

• Connor McDavid did not make as big an impact as expected in this series. 3 goals and 2 assists for 5 points. (none of which were in Games 6 and 7). Maybe the death grip by fans at the airport threw him off his game? I digress.

• So if McDavid wasn’t the impact player that Edmonton needed, who was? Leon Draisaitl. This guy was (almost) unstoppable. 5 goals and 8 assists for 13 points in 7 games in incredible. He was the Achilles heel for the Ducks all series.

• Might as well give Ryan Kesler the Selke right now. In Game 7 McDavid had only 1 shot on goal in nearly 25 minutes of ice time, and Draisaitl had only 2 shots in nearly 20 minutes of ice time. While he might not have had the largest impact in terms of goal production, he did a hell of a job containing McDavid.

• “It’s not a series until the home team wins a game.” The Ducks lost the first two at home then headed on the road to Edmonton where they picked up two wins, but barely. Game 4 went to OT and Randy Carlyle made a brilliant move. To start overtime, he put Silfverberg on the top line with Getzlaf. Then what do you know, ba-da-bing-ba-da-boom, not a minute in, he shoots a lazer from Getzlaf to snag the win and tie the series. Then they decided to win at home in the flashiest way possible.

• Game 5. The Mighty Comeback Kids, and a controversial call. In the last 5 minutes of Game 5 the Ducks were down 3-0, hope of a comeback looked bleak. Then the impossible happened. Getzlaf actually shot the puck and scored Anaheim their first goal. Not even a minute after that, Cam Fowler fires one, 3-2. They had a one goal game, and Rakell with 15 seconds left in the game, backhands a loose puck and the game was tied. Or was it?

• If you watch the replay over and over like most of you probably have, you see the issue at hand. Was it goaltender interference? From my point of view, Nurse pushed Kesler into Talbot, and it appears that Kesler wraps his arm around the goal pad. Now, was he trying to reach his stick? Was he holding Talbot? It was not conclusive enough to call goaltender interference and the call on the ice stood. Good goal.

• Here’s my opinion. Kesler is a veteran player. A gritty player who will work in those dirty areas to get something done. Once Nurse pushed Kesler, it gave him something to work with--which could have gone either way. Am I saying Kesler grabbed Talbot’s pad for interference? Possibly, I think he knows that if something is inconclusive, he can work with it and Nurse gave him that opportunity to capitalize.

• Edmonton was naturally not happy with the call. Milan Lucic told TSN: ““A guy falls on the goalie and wraps his hand around the goalie’s pad … I don’t even know what goalie interference is anymore, to be perfectly honest,” Lucic said, fuming. “It’s an absolute joke that two good referees can’t make the right call at the right time. Especially when the guy has two or three seconds to get up and he has his hand wrapped around the goalie’s leg. . . . The goalie can’t get up to make a save and it’s still a goal. Unbelievable.”

• Double overtime and look who decided to show up. Corey Perry, the Hero of Game 5. Patience. Patience. Patience. This is vintage Corey Perry and exactly what the Ducks needed out of him. A lackluster season, he hasn’t been the biggest impact in the playoffs, but he is certainly showing up this year. 6 points in 7 games against Edmonton, and the goal that gave the Ducks the lead.

• Then the Ducks faced their greatest enemy: a 3-2 series lead in the playoffs. We all know how that has panned out before, and Game 6 was no exception. Game 6 was just BAD hockey, from the net out. John Gibson dug them into a hole with 3 very weak goals. I mean c’mon, two go five-hole, which has always been a weak area for Gibson, and then he lets in another softy. For the second time in the 2017 playoffs, Gibson got yanked, and it didn’t get better from there. Bernier let in 4, but at that point the whole team was at fault.

• Cam Talbot on the other hand, was a brick wall. The shots on goal were even at 35 for each team in Game 6, but the Ducks could just not figure out Cam Talbot. He was a hero this series. I think Talbot is a incredibly underrated goaltender. In this year’s playoffs he put up a .924 sv% with 2.48 GAA, no doubt the Oilers had the better goaltending situation.

• From the net-out, the whole team played terrible. A 7-1 loss after a historic comeback like Game 5 is just flat out embarrassing. Seven penalties and 104 combined penalty minutes in this game, a combined 6 misconducts given out in the third, it was a gongshow by the end. So, series tied--they called the game a flop and moved on.

• The dreaded Game 7. If John Gibson is the future of this franchise, he was going to start Game 7. His performance this year in the playoffs has been hot and cold, lights out one night, then letting in 3 goals on only a few shots. He has had the worst goaltending stats of any goaltender in the playoffs this year with a .908 sv% and a 2.80 GAA, but there is something I have noticed about John Gibson. He can be very unpredictable and that is a large downfall for him. Although, typically when he has gotten the hook and pulled from a game, he comes back and is almost always lights out for the next game, and that is exactly what he did.

• Game 7 was the best hockey, top to bottom, that I have seen from the Ducks in a long time. Gibson was on point, defense was great, McDavid and Draisaitl were contained and the only goal from Edmonton was from Caggiula, unassisted. The Ducks simply shut the Oilers down in Game 7.

• Unexpected Heroes. Andrew Cogliano and Nick Ritchie. Cogliano gave the Ducks the momentum they needed, forcing the turnover and capitalizing on an attempted backhand from Kesler. This was without a doubt the best performance I have ever seen from Nick Ritchie. During the game, Carlyle made another on-the-fly coaching change and put Ritchie on the top line, and he just made it look easy. Nice wrist shot from the face-off dot and the Ducks took the lead.

• I have to give it to both coaches in this series. That was Playoff coaching to a T, both Randy Carlyle and Tod McLellan did a stellar job with making adjustments where needed to give their team the best opportunity for success to wrap up the series. Carlyle with his moving Silfverberg wrapped up Game 4, and McLellan’s moving Draisaitl to the third line kept Edmonton competitive rolling 4 lines and it worked out for them in Game 6 and Draisaitl had a hat playoffs. #coaching

• The fact that the Ducks held this lead, and completely limited what the Oilers could do was a beam of light for a team that is so desperate for a Cup. That game, that type of hockey is what they need to do to win. I did not see a bad game from any of the Ducks that night, and that the Game 7 curse has been broken, for now. There’s still a lot of hockey left.

• Expectedly, Anaheim was utterly stoked about the victory in a Game 7 at home. Captain Ryan Getzlaf told “Our learning process was good. I've gone back to it many times. The way we've played the last half of the season where we've learned to deal with adversity. We had to do that tonight. We gave up an early goal and gave up a lot of goals the other night. Our team played great. Our goalie played unbelievable.”

• Edmonton on the other hand...not so happy. The goaltender interference call will haunt them for years and they are making their frustration known. Getzlaf’s wikipedia page was changed to say he is a traitor and should play for a Canadian team since he is Canadian, and the internet is flooded with speculation that the series was fixed, they paid off the refs, and the glorious photo of McDavid in a death grip by fans. Oh the internet..

• I think it was “fixed”. I think the Ducks “fixed” their discipline from top to bottom. Game 7 proved that. Taking only one penalty, and taking the Oilers type of Game and simply shoving in their face. That is the team that can win the Cup. Now it is just a matter if they can show up in that way each and every night moving forward.

• That series was the epitome of the excitement, the fandom, the emotions and the grit that goes with a well matched playoff series. These two teams battled, and battled hard. The Ducks came out on top, but they still have 8 wins before they can call themselves Champions again.

Now onto the Nashville Predators.

We all know what happened last year when the Preds booted the Ducks out of the first round in a Game 7... shocker. Well, now is their time to redeem themselves.

This is not going to be an easy series, just like this series with Edmonton. The Preds have a hot goaltender, and a well established blue line that will be all over the Ducks. Things could get chippy, but that just makes good television.

Hannah Spraker is the Anaheim Correspondent and a Columnist for The Fourth Period. Be sure to follow her on Twitter.




Apr. 24, 2017 Stanley Cup or Bust for Anaheim

Apr. 21, 2017 Ducks Extinguish the Flames

Mar. 21, 2017 We The Women

Feb. 23, 2017 Van-City needs to re-vamp

Feb. 15, 2017 Battle for the Blue Line

Feb. 07, 2017 What Happens in Vegas

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