If the Anaheim Ducks and Edmonton Oilers were looking to send a message to one another ahead of a possible matchup in the playoffs, it didn't take.
Instead, the Ducks were left relieved that a first period no-show didn't end up costing them the win – and the Oilers hoping the two points lost taught them a valuable lesson.
Rickard Rakell scored the go-ahead goal, Hampus Lindholm had a goal and two assists, and the Ducks defeated the Oilers 4-3 on Wednesday night.
"We weren't very happy with our first period, but the team responded like we wanted to," said Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf, who had three assists. "We kept pushing."
Jonathan Bernier made 29 saves, and Josh Manson and Patrick Eaves also scored as Anaheim passed Edmonton for second place in the Pacific Division with nine games remaining for both teams.
The Ducks took the lead 1:33 into the second after being rather fortunate to head into the locker room tied at 2 when Lindholm scored with 30.2 seconds left. Edmonton succeeded early on in drawing Anaheim into a wide-open game, turning speed and skill into a 15-6 advantage in shots.
But Cam Talbot gave up a howler on Eaves' long shot to tie the game at 1, offering an early hint of his struggles to come, and the Oilers couldn't capitalize on their initial control of the game.
"We were lucky enough to sneak out a tie game," Getzlaf said. "It's a lot easier to come in here and regroup when you're not down two. The team responded the way we wanted to and kept pushing."
Lindholm's late strike energized the Ducks, turning the flow and allowing them to impose their forecheck on the Oilers after the first intermission.
"Those goals are tough to swallow, especially on the road up 2-1 in a tough building," said Connor McDavid, who had a goal and an assist. "We came out a little bit weak in the second and they took advantage."
Talbot gave up four goals on 18 shots before being pulled midway through the second as the Oilers' four-game winning streak ended.
The Ducks figured out early on that Talbot was not at his best despite coming off consecutive shutouts. Starting his 13th game in a row, Talbot seemed a step slow from the start, even on the sequence that opened the scoring.
Ryan Kesler's shot got past Talbot but was sent into the post by his right skate and tantalizingly trickled parallel to the open goal. Edmonton was to recover and break the other way where Leon Draisaitl buried his 25th goal 5:58 into the first.
After failing to react in time to Manson's score over his right shoulder that put the Ducks ahead 3-2, Talbot was beaten over his left glove side by Rakell during 4-on-4 play and prompting Oilers coach Todd McLellan to finally give Laurent Brossoit just his fifth appearance in net this season.
Brossoit made 16 saves in relief, playing for the first time since a loss at Tampa Bay on Feb. 21.
"The first one, I'm sure he would be willing to take back," McLellan said. "The last guy I'm going to complain about is Cam Talbot."
McDavid used a slick backhand to score his 26th, reaching around Cam Fowler and cutting back to his right to beat Bernier 1:03 after Eaves scored.
Mark Letestu added a 6-on-3 power-play goal with 6.7 seconds remaining, giving both sides something to worry about.
"We're going to have to play a stiffer brand of hockey going forward," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said.