Their coach might be sounding alarms, but the Ducks continued to thrill Wednesday.
A game after they rallied from a team-record four-goal deficit, Anaheim wiped away the Edmonton Oilers' two-goal, third-period lead and won their 50th game, 3-2, at Honda Center.
“Not the best way, but if we play the way we've been playing in the third period … we have that attitude of never say die,” Ducks forward Corey Perry said after scoring twice in the third against Oilers goalie and ex-Duck Viktor Fasth.
That gives Perry 41 goals for the season.
Ducks defenseman Francois Beauchemin scored the game-winning goal with 1 minute 21 seconds remaining, shooting “as hard as I could,” and watching the puck trickle through Fasth into the net.
With six regular-season games remaining, the Ducks (50-18-8) moved three points ahead of the San Jose Sharks in the Pacific Division lead, and are a point behind Western Conference front-runner St. Louis.
Looking beyond this race to the postseason, Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau grimaced through his postgame news conference, working to reinforce that the comeback habit won't have staying power in the playoffs.
“Proud of the guys for 50 wins, but we've got to learn to play from the get-go,” Boudreau said. “It's a false positive, because when you'll need it at a genuine time, you're not going to be able to do it.”
Neither Edmonton nor Monday comeback victim Winnipeg is going to the postseason.
“If we're down 3-1 in Game 4 of the playoffs, you won't be able to say, ‘Don't worry, we'll come back,'” Boudreau said. “I've been through that. No matter how many shots, you'll run up against a hot goalie or a hot something, it won't happen and you'll be kicking yourself for not doing something earlier in the game.”
Five days after beating the visiting Ducks in overtime, Edmonton (26-42-9) led 2-0 Wednesday on a late second-period power-play goal by Philip Larsen and Jordan Eberle's 26th 2:51 into the third.
But Perry, who scored Monday's tying goal, blasted a shot by Fasth after the goalie who was traded away March 4 shut them out with 15 saves through two periods.
It was 2-2 when Perry screened Fasth and held up his stick on a Stephane Robidas shot from the blue line, tipping the puck to the net with 8:35 remaining.
“Got deflected right in front of me, but you always want to stop the puck,” Fasth said, smiling about his friend. “Especially Perry.”
Fasth said he “should've had” Beauchemin's winner, admitting his inability to stop it might be connected to the rust of being out since March 22 with a neck injury.
Meanwhile, Ducks rookie goalie Frederik Andersen made 30 saves to win his third consecutive start.
Andersen's presence in net was surprising, as typical starter Jonas Hiller was given a third game of rest.
Boudreau said his decision was rooted in the fact Hiller is 6-6-3 since winning 14 straight games and the fact the playoffs are less than two weeks away.
Hiller said after Wednesday's morning skate, “You want to play, but it's the coach's decision, part of the business. I want to play as good as possible when the playoffs start.
“It's been a long season. There's been ups and downs. … Sometimes it's best to take a break.”
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