On November 28, 2001, Jussi Markkanen made his first career NHL start, in Anaheim. He made 27 saves en route to a 2-0 shutout victory. He has a dominant career record against the Ducks (5-1), and if he were the Oilers backup goalie I’d start him there tonight.
Mathieu Garon, tonight’s likely starter, has a 5-9 career against the Ducks (NHL.com will tell you it’s better than that, but then again, they believe that a shootout loss deserves its own column). Of course, I’d imagine that most of those games were played as a member of the Los Angeles Kings, and that isn’t conducive to a good W-L record. Speaking of those same Kings, they had their first win of the season last night, a 6-3 victory over Anaheim. How did Randy Carlyle deploy his players last night?
Well, to start with, he got his MacBlender going. Here are his lines from the Duck’s third loss in as many games:
Kunitz/Carter – Getzlaf – Perry
Kunitz/Carter – Morrison – Selanne
May – Sutherby – Parros
Moen – Pahlsson – Marchant
Niedermayer – Beauchemin
Pronger – Klee/McIver
Klee – Montador
Terry Murray played an even more mixed up system, keeping pairs together and moving players around, double-shifting at will, and drawing names from a hat to decide who would line up on defence (except, of course, that Drew Doughty must always have Sean O’Donnell looking over his shoulder). Doughty sat out the third with “flu-like symptoms”, which, as James Mirtle points out, could mean anything from the flu to electrocution during the second-intermission.
Adding to the confusion, both teams had nine power-play opportunities, with the Kings scoring three goals and the Ducks scoring no goals.
I was going to try and drag line match-ups out of the mess that was this game, but it’s much too difficult—both coaches went with forward pairs rather than lines for much of the night, and each double shifted defencemen (Klee for Carlyle, O’Donnell for Murray).
There weren’t a lot of surprises anyway. Carlyle tried to get Pahlsson out against Kopitar, and Getzlaf/Perry saw a bunch of Alexander Frolov/Michal Handzus. Beyond that, Morrison/Selanne and the Sutherby were out against everybody; in theory, this Anaheim team has four lines that can play against any opposition.
I’m not a fan of scratching Stortini for this one; he’s exactly the kind of player to dress against an undisciplined team because he gets under people’s skin, but presumably MacTavish has his reasons (wanting a closer look at Pouliot before a decision is made on him comes to mind). I’d expect the match-ups to go something like this tonight:
Cole – Horcoff – Hemsky vs. Moen – Pahlsson – Marchant
Nilsson – Cogliano – Gagner vs. Carter – Morrison – Selanne
Moreau – Pisani – Penner vs. Kunitz – Getzlaf – Perry
MacIntyre/Penner – Brodziak – Pouliot vs. May – Sutherby – Parros
Still, if the penalties flow as freely as they did yesterday, even-strength line-matching won’t be a big part of this game.
—Jonathan Willis is the force behind the Copper and Blue, and a frequent OilersNation contributor.