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VIDEO: Rakell’s Hat Trick Catapults Ducks Past Oilers
By Julius Choi
The Anaheim Ducks played their final road game of the season against the Edmonton Oilers. Saturday’s game also marked the last game of a four-game road trip and the second of a back-to-back. With Troy Terry put in a boot and crutches after blocking a Mark Giordano shot yesterday, Chase De Leo made his Anaheim Ducks debut tonight after being acquired from Winnipeg in June 2018. He has been an integral part of the San Diego Gulls offense, scoring 51 points in 61 games for Anaheim’s AHL affiliate this season. Goaltender John Gibson was called upon to make his 57th start of the season for the Ducks while the Oilers countered with Mikko Koskinen.
Jake Dotchin headed to the locker room about two minutes into the first period after referees discovered that the Anaheim Ducks listed him as a scratch while Troy Terry, who is injured, was on the list of active players for tonight’s game. This made an already ailing Ducks team even more shorthanded as they had to play with just five defensemen in their rotation. It played a role in the Ducks playing a majority of the time in their own zone as the Oilers had no problem with zone entries and applying pressure on Gibson. The Oilers best scoring chance came when Edmonton swarmed defenseman Jacob Larsson, whose pass was intercepted from the left point which sprung a breakaway for Leon Draisaitl with under two minutes left in the opening frame that he failed to cash in on. But it was the Ducks who scored the game’s first goal. Although he is no longer the goal-scoring juggernaut he once was, Corey Perry turned back the clock and scored his sixth goal of the season on a wrister from the slot.
Anaheim has struggled all season long to build upon good things, however, that was not the case tonight. On a fresh sheet of ice after the first intermission, the Ducks scored its second goal just a minute and a half into the middle frame. The moniker of “Swedeheim” resurfaced after Jakob Silfverberg’s presence deep in the zone drew three Edmonton defenders, allowing him to find Rakell sneaking into Alex Ovechkin‘s office on the left side for the top shelf snipe. Little did anyone know that the strike would mark the beginning of the Rickard Rakell show as the 25-year-old Swede added two more goals to secure a natural hat trick and extend the lead to 4-0.
Allowing four goals on 21 shots faced prompted Edmonton to opt for a change of scenery in net, replacing Koskinen with Anthony Stolarz. However, the goalie change did little to stop Anaheim’s momentum as Devin Shore scored his fifth goal as an Anaheim Duck since coming from Dallas in mid-January. Courtesy of the team’s goal party, Gibson didn’t see too many shots from the Oilers that he couldn’t handle but the shutout bid he had was diminished when forward Sam Gagner scored with 6:51 left to play. Milan Lucic picked up an assist on the play to join the 500-point club.
As the game wore on, the Anaheim Ducks didn’t look like a team that looked sluggish in the second game of a back-to-back despite landing in Edmonton at 1 AM on game day. Anaheim was able to keep two-headed monster of Connor McDavid and Draisaitl at bay, as they combined for a plus-minus of -5 and were kept scoreless. Collectively, the Oilers did not do themselves any favors as they allowed 16 giveaways on the night as well. With two games left in the 2018-19 campaign, Rakell is just two goals away from reaching the 20-goal milestone for the third consecutive time in his career.
Rakell has two career hat tricks, both against the Oilers.
The Ducks have used a total of 49 players this season. The NHL record is 55 by the Boston Bruins in 1991-92.
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March 31st, 2019