EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — The Edmonton Oilers now have the dubious status of holding the longest active playoff drought in the NHL.
The Oilers will miss the playoffs for a seventh consecutive season after losing 3-1 to the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday night.
Taylor Hall scored for the Oilers (17-20-7), who have lost seven of their last eight games and were officially eliminated from the playoffs for yet another season. The string of futility stretches back to their loss in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final against the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006.
"To have another season where we're out of the playoffs, another season where we're playing meaningless games at the end of the year, is very frustrating," Hall said. "It's something we're not proud of."
Oilers captain Shawn Horcoff, who has been with the team for the entire seven years, said it hasn't been an easy process.
"It's tough, it's been extremely tough on me," he said. "We made some steps and at least this year we got some meaningful games in, gave ourselves a chance to get in, but it fell off as of late.
"I think we're moving in the right direction. It's just a little slower than we'd like."
It was a badly-needed victory for the Ducks (28-11-6), who got goals from Cam Fowler, Kyle Palmieri and Corey Perry to help the team snap a four-game losing skid and move closer to clinching the Pacific Division crown.
"It was a step closer to where we want to be," said Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf. "There are still mistakes that we need to eliminate going into the playoffs, but this was a much-needed win tonight and one that I felt we deserved. It's all about playing the right way going into the playoffs. This was a step in the right direction."
The Ducks can clinch the division with another win over the Oilers in the rematch in Edmonton on Monday.
"It's great to have a win again after what has been happening for the last little while," said Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller, who stopped 27 shots. "We knew that we needed to play better, but sometimes it is not that easy. Tonight I think that everybody worked a little harder and that made the difference."