Silfverberg proving to be playoff hero with Ducks

When the games matter most Jakob Silfverberg rises to the occasion.

The Anaheim Ducks forward helped propel his club to a 6-3 win in Game 3 over the Edmonton Oilers with two goals and an assist on Sunday.

For Silfverberg the three-point outing helps stretch his goal-scoring streak to three games, puts him just one goal back of Pittsburgh Penguins forward Jake Guentzel for the most goals in the playoffs, and pushes his point total to eight in seven games.

Silfverberg's performance is what the Ducks needed to help cut the Oilers' series lead to 2-1, but for the team it shouldn't come as much of a surprise.

The 26-year-old is quickly gaining a knack for strong playoff performances. Going back two years, Silfverberg has now amassed 31 points in his last 30 postseason games.

This time around his offense has been on full display. As mentioned above, his six tallies lead the Ducks. He and Ryan Getzlaf are the only two players who have scored power-play goals for the Ducks - making up the five the team has scored on 24 opportunities. On top of that, Silfverberg's 29 shots on goal are 10 more than any other Ducks player and rank fourth league-wide.

All this has not gone unnoticed by head coach Randy Carlyle who praised Silfverberg postgame, comparing him to a former Swedish great.

"Silfvy is a tremendous hockey player and if you look at the stat sheet tonight, he was all over it," Carlyle said. "He's the kind of guy who's an unsung, unassuming individual. But he really is a tremendous hockey player and we are very, very fortunate to have him. He can do a lot of things.

"From my vantage point, previous to me getting the job in Anaheim, when I was unemployed I spent some time in the press box and watching him play reminded me of Daniel Alfredsson. He had that type of demeanor about him. He was good on the defensive side of it, but he found ways to provide offense. He's a dynamic player, a good checker, and that's who I felt he resembled."

Of course, Silfverberg played his first season in the league with Alfredsson as a member of the Ottawa Senators. So maybe Silfverberg's recent trend of strong playoff performances was inherited from Alfredsson.

Either way, the Ducks have have become the benefactors and they will need more of it if they are to square their series at 2-2.

Copyright © 2017 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

Silfverberg nets 2, Ducks halve Oilers’ series lead

EDMONTON, Alberta - Jakob Silfverberg scored twice to lead the Anaheim Ducks to a 6-3 victory over Edmonton on Sunday night, cutting the Oilers' series lead to 2-1,

Ryan Getzlaf had a goal and an assist, and Rickard Rakell, Chris Wagner and Ryan Kesler also scored for Anaheim, which lost the first two games at home. John Gibson stopped 24 shots.

Connor McDavid scored his first of the series for Edmonton. Patrick Maroon and Anton Slepychev also scored and Kris Russell had two assists. Cam Talbot finished with 22 saves.

Wagner scored the tie-breaking goal midway through the second period, firing a shot that deflected off Talbot's arm and in.

Silfverberg knocked in a feed from Josh Manson at 4:56 of the third to make it 5-3. The Oilers challenged the play for offside, but the goal stood after a video review. Kesler swept in a rebound with 9 1/2 minutes left to cap the scoring.

Game 4 is Wednesday night.

Talbot was stellar in Game 2 with 39 saves, but the Ducks got to him early scoring on two of their first three shots of the game.

Rakell got a long pass from Getzlaf behind the Edmonton defense and scored on a breakaway 25 seconds in for the fastest playoff goal to start a game in franchise history.

Silfverberg got his stick on a loose puck to make it 2-0 at 5:33 when Oilers defenseman Adam Larsson failed to clear it away from Talbot.

Maroon was in the penalty box for knocking down Gibson when Getzlaf beat Talbot with a wrist shot from the hashmarks with 8:09 remaining in the first. Getzlaf had corralled Darnell Nurse's clearing attempt around the boards to gain possession of the puck.

Russell finally gave the Rogers Place crowd something to cheer about when his shot from the point deflected off Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Maroon and past Gibson with 40 seconds left in the opening period.

The Oilers pulled within a goal at 1:28 of the second when David Desharnais' centering pass from beside the net deflected off Slepychev's skate and in.

McDavid tied it at 8:40 as he spun and cut back to lose defender Sami Vatanen and rifled a shot over Gibson's left elbow.

NOTES: The U.S. national anthem got a unique rendition before the game when the microphone didn't work Canadian country singer Brett Kissel. Decked out in an Oilers jersey and guitar, Kissel attempted twice to sing the anthem before throwing his hands in the air and encouraging the crowd to sing with him. The microphone resumed working in time for Robert Clark to perform the Canadian anthem. ... Vatanen was in Anaheim's lineup for the first time in the playoffs. He sat out the first six games with a knee injury . . . Ducks D Kevin Bieksa sat out a second straight game with a lower-body injury.

Copyright © 2017 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

McLellan says he’s not getting enough from Eberle

Todd McLellan has a two-word assessment of Jordan Eberle's recent play.

"Not enough," the Edmonton Oilers head coach told reporters Sunday, following a 6-3 defeat to the Anaheim Ducks in Game 3 of their second-round playoff series.

McLellan then elaborated by describing the challenge Eberle is facing in these playoffs.

"This is a new experience for him, and he's learning as he goes as well," the coach said. "It's great to be making strong plays on the boards and checking well ... but you also have to find a way to contribute on the power play."

McLellan hasn't lost sight of the entire team's struggles amid Eberle's woes.

"He's not the only one, but he's one that stands out right now," McLellan said. "I think the day off will help him as well. It will allow us to work on some things in practice. We all expect him to be better, but more importantly, we expect the whole group to improve."

McLellan juggled his lines when the Oilers fell behind 3-0, sliding Connor McDavid down between Eberle and Milan Lucic, but it wasn't an entirely successful move.

Despite McDavid's spectacular goal that tied the game at 3-3, McLellan benched the trio for the final nine-plus minutes after they were on the ice for the fifth and sixth goals by the Ducks.

Eberle fired three shots on goal in the game, but failed to notch a point for the seventh time in nine playoff contests this spring.

The winger played 14:52 in Sunday's loss, and he's logged more than 15 minutes only twice in this postseason.

Copyright © 2017 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

Perry continues to be non-factor for Ducks

It was a big night for Anaheim Ducks forwards on Sunday.

The club's crop of wingers and centermen combined for all six goals scored on the way to halving the Edmonton Oilers' series lead to 2-1 with a commanding 6-3 victory.

The win saw some great individual performances from the likes of Ryan Getzlaf and Jakob Silfverberg, who combined for three goals and five points, but once again, the Ducks were left wanting more from Corey Perry.

For the fifth time in seven games this postseason, Perry was a non-factor offensively, going pointless in Game 3. Through seven playoff games, he now has just one goal and two assists, with all three of those points coming in the team's first-round series against the Calgary Flames.

Perry has failed to significantly aid the Ducks' offense during the postseason, and his struggles have been reflected in a diminished workload.

He finished with just 12:28 of ice time on Sunday night, his second-lowest mark of the season since playing 11:59 against the Toronto Maple Leafs back on March 3 and ranked eighth among Ducks forwards.

Perry is averaging only the 13th-most ice-time per game on the Ducks at 14:22 per game, also ranking 13th in even-strength time on ice (12:06).

If there is one thing Perry can possibly hang his hat on as a sign that things are about to change, it's that despite his diminished minutes, he's still fired 19 shots on goal, tied for second-most on the team.

While Perry has struggled in the playoffs, it should be noted that he wasn't necessarily his dynamic self during the regular season, either. While playing in all 82 games, Perry posted 19 goals and 53 points, his lowest totals in a full season since the 2006-07 campaign - his second in the league.

Nevertheless, the 31-year-old has the ability to be a difference-maker, with a lethal shot that's earned him a Rocket Richard Trophy in the past, and the Ducks would love to see that version of Perry make a return to the lineup sooner rather than later.

Copyright © 2017 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

Watch: McDavid snipes filthy goal after burning Ducks’ Vatanen

Connor McDavid is unreal.

The Edmonton Oilers captain scored a tremendous goal Sunday night in Game 3 against the Anaheim Ducks, cutting back to leave Sami Vatanen in the dust, then firing a perfect shot past John Gibson to tie up the contest.

Anaheim scored less than a minute later to re-take the lead, but that shouldn't take anything away from McDavid's eye-popping play.

The Ducks blew a 3-0 lead before restoring the one-goal edge midway through the second period.

Vatanen made his return to the Ducks' lineup Sunday after missing the final three contests of Anaheim's four-game sweep over the Calgary Flames and the first two games against the Oilers with an injury.

Copyright © 2017 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

Watch: Oilers fans sing ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ after apparent mic issue

This doesn't happen very often.

Fans in Edmonton belted out the American national anthem Sunday night before Game 3 between the Oilers and the Anaheim Ducks after being prompted by Canadian country artist Brett Kissel, who appeared to have some difficulty with his microphone.

The audio seemed fine after Kissel strummed the opening chord and sung the first note, but things got a bit awkward before he seemingly improvised by coaxing the crowd into carrying the tune.

It might have been forced by technical difficulties, but it was still a classy gesture from Oilers fans that was surely appreciated by Americans and Kissel alike.

Copyright © 2017 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

Predators’ defense stellar again in win over Blues

The Nashville Predators regained a one-game advantage in their second-round series Sunday against the St. Louis Blues with a gutsy 3-1 victory.

While Pekka Rinne was big, turning in another solid outing, the story of the game was the play of the team's impeccable blue line.

In what has become a common theme in these playoffs, the Predators' defenders flexed their offensive muscles, with goals by Ryan Ellis and Roman Josi.

The markers were just two of the four points collected by the Preds' defensive core which now paces all postseason clubs with seven goals and 21 points.

On a team that boasts both Josi and P.K. Subban, it's somewhat surprising that the man leading the pack is Ellis.

Related - Watch: Subban makes late, great defensive play to prevent sure goal

With his third goal of the playoffs to open the scoring, Ellis has now constructed a six-game point streak in which he's posted eight points, giving him a share of the playoff scoring lead among defensemen with Ottawa Senators captain Erik Karlsson. He's failed to register a point just once this postseason, back in Game 1 of the first round against the Chicago Blackhawks.

The offense from the back end can almost entirely be attributed to the team's top three blue-line studs. Ellis, Subban, and Josi all rank in the top four in terms of points by defensemen, amassing 19 combined. That total is the same turned in by all Ottawa Senators defensemen combined, who make up the next-highest-scoring defensive corps in the playoffs so far.

The Predators are cruising along this postseason, having now gone 6-1 through their first seven games, and they can thank their defense for leading the way on offense.

Copyright © 2017 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

Watch: Subban makes late, great defensive play to prevent sure goal

This ought to silence the critics.

P.K. Subban broke up what would have been a near-automatic goal with a stellar defensive play late in Sunday's win over the St. Louis Blues in Game 3 of their second-round playoff series.

The Nashville Predators defenseman stretched out to get his stick on a pass headed through the crease toward Paul Stastny, preventing the Blues forward from getting off a clean shot at the virtually wide-open net with about three minutes left in the contest.

The Predators held on for a 3-1 victory and took a 2-1 series lead.

Copyright © 2017 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

Boucher jokes it won’t be a chess match if Rangers put checker on Pageau

Guy Boucher isn't keeping his sense of humor in check.

The Ottawa Senators head coach had the perfect one-liner ready when asked about a potential Game 3 adjustment from New York Rangers bench boss Alain Vigneault.

Vigneault said earlier Sunday that he might have to "put a checker on their checker," to neutralize Jean-Gabriel Pageau, according to's Dan Rosen. "He's supposed to be their checker and he scored four goals."

Boucher's response was terrific.

“I'm going to check his checkers and he'll check my checkers," he said, via TSN 1200's Chris Stevenson. "I guess it won't be a chess match then. It'll be a checkers match.”

Well played, Guy.

Pageau capped off his four-goal outburst in Game 2 with the overtime winner that gave the Senators a 2-0 series lead heading to New York.

As the matchup shifts to Madison Square Garden, the pressure's on Vigneault and the Rangers to make the next move.

Copyright © 2017 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

Report: Sabres interviewed Blue Jackets’ Zito for GM vacancy

The Buffalo Sabres continue their search for a new general manager.

Their latest interviewee is Columbus Blue Jackets assistant GM Bill Zito, who reportedly met with the Sabres on Saturday, according to Pierre LeBrun of TSN. The interview was also reported by Aaron Portzline of the Post-Dispatch.

Zito was named AGM of the Blue Jackets in August 2013. According to the team, Zito is responsible for contract negotiations, scouting and player evaluation, salary cap management and budgeting, and serving as GM of the AHL's Lake Erie Monsters.

Prior to joining the Blue Jackets, Zito helped build Acme World Sports into one of the top hockey agencies.

Los Angeles Kings AGM Mike Futa is also believed to be among the candidates for the Sabres GM job.

Copyright © 2017 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.