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Photo Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Keep Goading the Ducks Into Taking Penalties, They Can’t Kill Them Off

If I’m Todd McLellan, I’m spending the next week spending all of my time on the power play because the Ducks cannot stay out of the penalty box.

Last night, the Ducks got called for five minor penalties even though that number easily could have been doubled. If the Oilers are smart and can stay out of the box, then they should be able to take advantage of all the power plays that are sure to come their way from the constant stick work and fencing practice that’s being doled out by the cheaters Ducks.

The Ducks playoff PK has been a miserable 61.9% and the Oilers need to find a way to take advantage of their mediocrity. As of this writing, the Oilers power play unit is clicking at a reasonable 19.o% which ranks sixth among teams that are still in the playoffs, but they can be better. With Anaheim’s PK ranking dead last amongst playoff teams and an extreme likeliness that they’ll keep ending up in the box multiple times per night, Edmonton needs to find a way to make them pay for it.

So far in the playoffs, the Oilers have scored four power play goals and two of those came in last night’s game. From where I blog, I see a big opportunity there that the Oilers should be able to use to their benefit.

THE CHANCES WILL COME

Apr 1, 2017; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; The Edmonton Oilers celebrate a third period goal by forward Milan Lucic (27) against the Anaheim Ducks at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

If there’s one thing that last night’s game taught me, it’s that the Ducks are going to be as dirty as the refs will let them get away with and going to mean that the Oilers end up with the man advantage. Basically, Anaheim seems like they’re running with the Detroit Bad Boys game plan where the refs will only call them for five or six of the 300 infractions they commit on a nightly basis. The Oilers need to make them pay for the five chances they do get.

On the flip side, for as important as it is that the Oilers to make the Ducks pay for their cheating ways they also need to stay disciplined. I can see how it would be insanely tough to ignore Ryan Kesler’s cheap shots throughout a best-of-seven series but it’s a detail that they need to pay attention to. Anaheim’s PP is running at 25% and that’s the kind of clip that can easily get them back into hockey games if the Oilers give them unnecessary chances with retaliatory penalties.If Edmonton can channel their inner Gandhi and remain disciplined then the Ducks’ insistence on swinging their sticks will come back to haunt them.

If Edmonton can channel their inner Gandhi and remain disciplined then the Ducks’ insistence on swinging their sticks will come back to haunt them. The chances will come and Jay Woodcroft had better be drawing up all kinds of power play schemes to make sure that Anaheim feels the shame.

  • Connor McJesus

    I think the Ducks are probably aware that they gave up too many PP chances and they’ll clean things up. That being said, we might see McDavid finally get some breathing room and put up some numbers.

    Then I’d imagine Carlyle telling his group to play a tighter game and then start taking penalties again, cause the Ducks don’t know how to be aggressive on the puck without being dirty.

    • CMG30

      Actually, I doubt they will even try to clean things up.

      As Baggedmilk so eloquently pointed out: the refs are only calling five or six of the 300 infractions they commit on a nightly basis. So that’s a mountain of dirt they are getting away with. Nobody seems to care that the entire purpose of the refs is to stop this kind of nonsense. Instead, it’s far more likely that the ‘refs’ are going to feel bad for giving the Ducks so many penalties and let more and more go as the penalty count mounts because… playoff hockey… reasons… Take your pick. Even if Edmonton plays like angels, the ‘refs’ are likely deploy (and make liberal use of) the ‘make up call’ and start handing out softer and softer calls against Edmonton anyway to ‘even things up’.

      Moral of the story: the Oil should climb down in the gutter with the Ducks.

      • ricardo2000

        The Ducks have to win tonight, so we might see a temporary slide to the hack-n-whack tonight.
        The Oil should take advantage and mercilessly carve them. A McD elbow, or three, ala Mr. Hockey, so that Kesler has a few new bends in his nose would be nice.
        But the blood should drip from the sticks of the bottom six forwards, and the D should bend their shafts on the Ducks forwards. Goad them, taunt them, call them out, give them no choice, no chance, but blood.
        Then send out the quality to whip them like farm-fresh eggs.

    • Rob...

      If the series appears to be out of reach then watch for the Ducks to escalate their attempt to injure. I didn’t think it possible for a team to have lower scruples than the Sharks after they brought in a minor league goon to fight a rookie. I was wrong.

  • Kdc

    The lack of respect the oilers get from other teams fans is rather interesting. Swept the flames this year, beat the Sharks, needed one game to beat the ducks (flu key goals) that the flames couldn’t do in 4 tries. Being the underdogs, and disrespected is a good place to be in any sport!

  • Jack Dupp

    The lack of officiating was to be expected. Seems like the “officials” need to make use of their health plan and upgrade their contact lenses. When Kerry Fraser is shocked at the lack of calls it speaks volumes.

  • JimmyV1965

    The first 10 minutes is going to be a war. The Ducks are going to come out flying and for them that means lots of elbows, crosschecks, slashes and spears. It is going to be ugly. Would love to see Looch drop Getzlaf. That would end a lot of the crap right away.

  • Alberta Ice

    How many times do I hear the pundits say that the Ducks get teams off their game? In actuality and as this article suggests, may the Oilers continue to keep the Ducks off their game.

  • Can't Fix Stupid

    If the Oilers can get a 3 or 4 goal lead with less than 5 minutes to go watch the powder keg ignite and then we will see how “tough” Getzlaf, Perry, Kessler are.

    • ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

      Fighting with less than 5 mins left is a suspension for the next game. If Kassian can take Kesler out, fine. But we can’t lose players that way–even Kassian is more important to the team’s chemistry than Kesler’s dick game is to be concerned about. I would love to take Kesler out with a beatdown, but he’s not going to be goaded into fighting, particularly in the last five minutes.

      • Drill Bit #97

        Kesler’s a cheap shot artist who will just turtle, he doesn’t have the guts to drop the gloves……. Don’t waste any talent on him. Oilers just need to keep their heads, play fast and extra heavy, keep the slight lines clear for Dadbot. The Quacks will self destruct if they fall behind 1 or 2, besides being dbags they have no answer. Although I admit, if the Quacks try to bring it it’d be great to see a Kesler, or Perry or Getslough beat down……

      • geoilersgist

        Here is a question for you. Why didn’t Getzlaf get some sort of punishment for the end of the last game? He had his gloves off and wanted to fight Sekera or anyone for that matter. To me if the game had been continuing he likely would have gotten a penalty.

  • 7909

    Watching the game felt like watching our team play a hockey game against inmates, and the orange shirts the fans wore reminded me of prison jump suits. Hopfully none of our players get shanked.

  • The Ducks have good PK players that are suffering through some bad luck and flukey bounces against them. Chances are they are going to start trending up in the kill percentage and with that they shall feel less constraints on their inherent dick head tendencies. Gonna get spicy!!! *rubs hands together*

  • Steel Wheels

    Given Carlyle’s comments after the game and zero good faith in the Ducks’ players, I think we start to see their forwards taking liberties with Talbot.
    Expecting a barn burner in the next one.

  • I disagree, but hear me out.

    The refs are going to call goading as much as anything, and it’ll create offsetting penalties.

    The refs are letting slashes, spears, elbows, obstructions, and grabbing go. That falls in line with the “let them play, it’s the playoffs” mentality.

    But what they have no choice in calling are calls that are borne by speed. Calls that become more apparent with speed. Hooks, grabs, and trips.

    Because the Ducks want to play a tight game, I’d suggest the Oilers start skating any time they feel a potential for a grab or tug on the jersey. If a stick is in your legs during a battle on the corners, chip the puck away and start skating. Don’t dive, but start pumping your legs and those obstructions will legit cause those infractions.

    Refs can’t help but call those.

    I also think that the Ducks are playing the game a little too tightly. Larsson was able to skate by everyone because they played it flat footed despite being positionally sound. In another instance where Larsson scored, Oilers going hard to the net with Drai coming quick down the wing caused defenders to back off… Because that speed was a change of pace and they panicked a bit.

    I could be wrong, this is just my perspective…I just see things broken down between “we won’t call” and “we have no choice but to call”… And I think the Oilers can get some of the latter by moving their feet. Stupid flu is hurting that more than anything.

    • Rob...

      I’d have thought putting Nurse in a headlock for so long and with such vigor that he falls to the ice and his lid pops off would fall into that category of ‘can’t help but call those’.

    • Dobbler

      Totally agree with the idea of keeping your feet moving. I don’t think the Ducks really need goading to take dumb penalties. As far as what the refs call and what they won’t… break out your Tarot cards and crystal ball, because that’s one of the deep mysteries of life that can’t be penetrated by logic or reasoning. Mainly, I agree with baggedmilk about channeling “their inner Gandhi”. If they play a disciplined game, I gotta believe that the Ducks will give them more than enough chances on the PP to make this series easier than it should be.

  • 99CupsofCoffey

    I don’t mind the hacking and slashing when McDavid has the puck. But 50′ away from the puck? Call that $hit. Watched a video yesterday and 97 was held, slashed, cross-checked, held, held again, slashed again… all far from the puck. That’s called “Interference.” Just call that a few times and it’ll stop. But knowing what the refs are going to call is a total crapshoot.