EDMONTON — The Anaheim Ducks are looking forward to heading home.
“I thought we were resilient, but we were pretty sloppy tonight and we looked a little tired,” said Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau, whose team now returns home for four straight games.
“It was a good win for us to have at the end of a long road trip, allowing only one goal. But they missed some opportunities, but (Gibson) was the difference in the game.”
Brandon Pirri also scored for the Ducks (42-23-10), who moved one point back of the Kings for first in the Pacific Division. L.A. could regain ground with a win over San Jose later Monday.
“I think we wanted to carry off from last game and I think it’s more about playing the right way now and not just for the end of the trip, but heading into playoffs,” Gibson said.
Nail Yakupov replied for the Oilers (30-41-7), who have lost two straight.
“I thought we played a solid game, just a couple of mental breaks, but I thought we played hard,” said former Duck turned Oiler Pat Maroon. “If we play like this every night this is going to be a good team moving forward. We’re on the right path.”
The Ducks started the scoring four minutes into the game on their first shot, as Perry cleanly beat Oilers goalie Cam Talbot with a slap shot from the top of the face-off circle.
Anaheim went ahead 2-0 with seven minutes left in the second period as Oiler defender Adam Clendening coughed up the puck, leading to a Pirri spin-o-rama shot into the net for his 13th of the year.
The two teams had 18 shots apiece through 40 minutes. Edmonton’s best chance was a late second-period shot by Taylor Hall that Gibson directed off the post.
Edmonton got back into the game with eight minutes to play when Hall set up a goal by Yakupov, who is in the midst of rumours that he has asked for a trade from the Oilers.
“I think the day affected him,” said Edmonton head coach Todd McLellan. “I think the response from the fans affected him. Once he got into the game he played a little better as the night went on.”
The Oilers were unable to get the equalizer with Talbot on the bench for the extra attacker.
The Calgary Flames are the next opponent for both teams, as the Ducks return home to face them on Wednesday, and the Oilers are off before playing Calgary on Saturday in their second-last game at Rexall Place before occupying a new downtown arena next season.
Notes: It was the fifth and final game between the two teams this season, with the Ducks sporting a 4-0-1 record. Out injured for the Oilers were Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (concussion), Oscar Klefbom (foot), Andrew Ference (hip), Brandon Davidson (knee), Benoit Pouliot (shoulder), Eric Gryba (knee) and Adam Pardy (hand), Sami Vatanen (upper body) and Ryan Kesler (personal) were both back in the lineup for the Ducks, who were without the services of Kevin Bieksa (upper body), Simon Despres (undisclosed) and David Perron (shoulder).