|Scott Burnside's take|
As playoff losses go, this one will haunt the Anaheim Mighty Ducks for many a day.
The losses where you bring it all, where you bring the courage and perseverance of champions, only to find it's just not quite enough.
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Pisani's ninth goal of the postseason helped the Oilers withstand a late rally by the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, and Edmonton won Game 3 of the Western Conference final 5-4 on Tuesday night.
The Oilers go for the sweep and their first trip to the finals since winning the Cup in 1990 on Thursday night at home.
"At no point was I comfortable at 4-0 because I knew the energy level of our team," Oilers coach Craig MacTavish said. "It was a wild game we feel fortunate to have won. I've been in those situations where we haven't won.
"We've got to come in here Thursday with some fresh legs."
"Good lesson for us," Staios said. "That's a desperate hockey team but we like the situation we're in now."
Pisani gave Edmonton some insurance with just over five minutes left. It turned out to be a huge goal after Selanne scored his second of the game to bring Anaheim back within 5-4.
"We made some mistakes tonight and it cost us," said Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle, singling out Salei's turnover that led to the Peca goal. "Other than that I thought we played a pretty competitive hockey game. We had lots of opportunities. We didn't get it done."
Pronger labeled it a gut-check win for a team with a number of players struggling with fatigue and flu.
Fernando Pisani of the Oilers scored his ninth goal of the 2006 postseason, tying him with Patrick Marleau for the NHL lead. Marleau plays for the Sharks, who have been eliminated. Pisani, who scored only 18 goals during the regular season, could become the first player to lead all playoff goal scorers after a sub-20 goal season since Sergei Fedorov in 1998. (Fedorov scored 10 goals during the 1998 postseason, after scoring only six during an injury-abbreviated regular season.)
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"It just shows the character in the locker room," he said. "Guys are doing whatever it takes, playing hurt, sick, whatever the case may be.
"We've got a chance to close them out Thursday but I'm sure they're going to have a lot to say about it."
Toby Petersen scored in the first period to give the Oilers a 1-0 lead.
Eighth-seeded Edmonton, which eliminated Detroit in the first round, has won seven straight since falling behind 2-0 to San Jose in the second round. It's the Oilers' longest postseason winning streak since '90. They are 6-1 at home this postseason.
Edmonton has not yet trailed in this playoff series and already has gone deeper into the playoffs than any eighth-seeded team since the introduction of the conference format in 1994.
The Ducks have lost 13 consecutive games in Edmonton, dating to Feb. 24, 1999.
Peca started the Oilers scoring binge in the third, tipping the puck past Ducks defenseman Ruslan Salei at the blue line and racing in alone on goalie Ilya Bryzgalov. Peca beat Bryzgalov to the glove side just over two minutes into the period.
"It seems that they are so opportunistic," Anaheim's Joffrey Lupul said. "Every time they get a chance, they are scoring."
Peca has scored a goal in four straight games and has points in his last six.
The Oilers went on to score twice more in the next two minutes.
First, speedy winger Sergei Samsonov set up Staios, who slapped the puck into an the net.
With the Oilers on a 5-on-3 power play, Pronger blasted the puck low to Bryzgalov's stick side from the blue-line for the 4-0 lead.
Then the Oilers sat back and the Ducks went to work, scoring three goals in four minutes.
O'Donnell scored with a point shot through traffic at 12:45.
Kunitz scored to make it 4-3 but Pisani sealed the win. He took the puck off the faceoff, fought off a check and deked Bryzgalov. Pisani is tied with Patrick Marleau of the San Jose Sharks for the league lead in playoff goals.
Anaheim has outshot Edmonton in all three games of the series.
"It is absolutely embarrassing that we haven't won these games," Selanne said. "We have to fix a couple of things and not make as many mistakes."
The game was filled with penalties and was particularly ugly early. There were three fights in the first five-and-half minutes. The two teams combined for 16 penalties for 44 minutes in the box in the first period.
Pronger played in his 100th playoff game Tuesday ... NHL commissioner Gary Bettman took in the game and got a mix of cheers and boos when his visit was announced on the JumboTron ... It was the seventh consecutive playoff sellout for the Oilers.