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Ducks break Game 7 curse against Oilers, move to Western Conference Final

Nick Ritchie scored the game-winning goal, as the Ducks ended their streak of five straight Game 7 losses to reach the Conference Final.

When the Edmonton Oilers took an early 1-0 lead on a brutal goal to start Game 7, it seemed like “same old, same old” for the Anaheim Ducks. Then the Ducks flexed their muscles for essentially 40 minutes of nearly flawless hockey to advance to the Western Conference Final.

Cam Talbot deserves a lot of credit for keeping the Oilers in Game 7, particularly in the second period. Andrew Cogliano was the only player who could get a puck by Talbot in that middle frame despite a brawny 16-3 shot edge for Anaheim during that span.

Nick Ritchie ended up scoring the game-winner in the third, handcuffing Talbot for the biggest goal of his young career.

Ryan Getzlaf didn’t finish with a point in this one, while Ryan Kesler collected an assist, but the two Ryans were big difference-makers for the Ducks. After a humbling Game 6 loss, the Ducks responded by slowing Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl in an impressive display.

How do you exorcise your demons? If you’re the Ducks, you just impose your will and leave nothing to chance.