The Edmonton Oilers were a great story this postseason. They beat San Jose in the first round and took a 2-0 lead on Anaheim in the second. With Leon Draisaitl, 21, and Connor McDavid, 20, the young and speedy Oilers were a tough matchup every night.
But ultimately, the Anaheim Ducks figured them out. The Ducks won Games 3-5 – scoring 12 goals in the process – and won Game 7, 2-1, in Anaheim.
That’s what old-man strength can do for you.
“Yeah, no doubt,” NHL on NBC play-by-play broadcaster Chris Cuthbert said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “Guys like Getzlaf, he just turned 32. He’s in his prime, and I haven’t seen Ryan Getzlaf play better than he’s playing right now.”
Getzlaf leads Anaheim in goals (eight), assists (seven), and points (15) this postseason. Jakob Silfverberg (11 points), Rickard Rakell (10), and Corey Perry (nine) have all been stellar as well.
“Corey Perry stepped up in the last few games,” Cuthbert said. “There was something about the experience, the savvy, but they had some demons to exorcise too. I think they were men on a mission.”
Anaheim had lost four consecutive Game 7s before beating Edmonton on Wednesday.
“Half the team hadn’t been involved in those, but they still hard about it,” Cuthbert said of the Ducks. “They really were focused to get over the hump.”
Anaheim will face Nashville in the Western Conference Final. Game 1 is Friday at 9 p.m. ET.
Edmonton, meanwhile, could be on the brink of a dynasty.
“We’re going to be seeing (this team) in Stanley Cup Finals in the not-so-distant future,” Cuthbert said. “They’re like the Blackhawks of six or seven years ago. I think for us old-timers, they’re like the Oilers of about 1981. They’re getting closer, they may still have another painful lesson or two before they get over the top, but they’re a team that’s just got so much talent and are so fun and exciting to watch. They’re going to be around for a while.”