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Photo Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

GDB 42.0: A date with the Ducks (6pm MST, SNW)

Welcome, friends, to a back-to-back edition of the GDB as our beloved Edmonton Oilers are only a few short hours away from their second meeting of the season against the Anaheim Ducks. Can the Oilers right the ship after last night’s loss, or will they be slump busters yet again?

No matter what is going on with the Edmonton Oilers or how they’re playing at any given moment, it’s hard not to get fired up for a game against the Anaheim Ducks. The games are chippy, the hatred runs deep, and having these teams meet up tends to bring out the best in everyone. Actually, now that I say that, I hope that the Ducks can bring out the best in the Oilers because we may have seen them at their worst last night in LA. That game was so bad that it’s almost impossible for Edmonton not to get more done than they did against the Kings, but will simply ‘being better’ be good enough to crank out a win against a Ducks team that’s lost seven straight? Maybe? Please? There’s nothing quite as satisfying as watching the Oilers beat the Ducks and I could really use another dose of happiness at their expense right about now, especially if that means pushing their losing streak another notch towards 10 games. After last night’s loss, I think we could all use a few positives right about now.

Even though yesterday’s matchup with the Kings should have been considered a must-win hockey game given LA’s struggles and spot in the standings, it’s even more important that the Oilers find a way to beat the Ducks today. Coming into this thing, Anaheim is four points ahead of the Oilers and clinging to the last wild card spot which should be enough to give the boys extra motivation to make the most of this hockey game. On paper, this should be an easy game to get fired up for. They’re facing a divisional rival that they’re chasing for the last playoff spot and I don’t know what else on Gord’s green earth needs to happen to get them pumped up to play. That said, our boys will have to be better in every aspect of their game if they hope to get two points and keep themselves in it. Honestly, I’m just curious to see how they’ll rebound after shitting themselves all over the ice last night in LA. To say that that game was embarrassing would be an understatement because that could have honestly been the worst game of the year, and I honestly can’t imagine how things could get much worse than getting absolutely dummied by the last place team in the NHL.

In their first meeting of the season, the Oilers fell to the Ducks by a score of 2-1 in overtime with both of Anaheim’s goals coming within a span of 31 seconds. It was a tough way to end the game, but today’s rematch brings with it a blank canvas that’s eager and waiting for a McMasterpiece… at least I hope so anyway. Gord knows we’ll probably need the captain to bail us out again.

NUMBERS

OILERS DUCKS
RECORD 19-19-3 19-16-7
WIN/LOSS STREAK L1 L7
LAST 10 GAMES 2-7-1 3-5-2
GOALS FOR 114 104
GOALS AGAINST 131 123
POWER PLAY 21.1 15.3
PENALTY KILL 77.6 80.4
AVG. SHOTS/FOR 29.5 27.6
AVG. SHOTS/AGAINST 30.7 34.8
TEAM SAVE% .904 .924
CORSI FOR% 49.27 46.57
PDO 99.16 101.2
TEAM SHOOTING% 7.33 7.42
EXPECTED GOALS FOR% 48.2 44.1

Numbers courtesy of Corsica (fancies at 5×5)

LINEUPS…

Oilers ***UPDATED***

Khaira – McDavid – Kassian
Lucic – RNH – Puljujarvi
Rieder – Draisaitl – Chiasson
Gambardella – Brodziak – Rattie

Jones – Larsson
Nurse – Russell
Gravel – Petrovic

Talbot

I really don’t know what to say about this lineup apart from hoping that they all took long looks in the mirror after last night’s horrific effort against the Kings. In every way, the players and organization as a whole should be embarrassed about the way that game played out, and I would damned sure expect and hope for a much better effort against the Ducks. As for who starts in net, I have no idea. With Koskinen getting the nod yesterday against the Kings, it was obvious that Talbot was going to play today but then #19 got the hook after only 15 minutes which makes today’s starter situation a little bit foggier. Do they go back to Koskinen? Do they let Talbot continue? There’s been no word just yet on what will happen in net or with the line combos, but I’ll be sure to update the lines when news comes out.

***UPDATE*** Whoa jeez.

Ducks

Sherwood – Getzlaf – Sprong
Ritchie – Henrique – Kase
Cogliano – Kesler – Silfverberg
Aberg – Rowney – Gibbons

Lindholm – Montour
Larsson – Manson
Mahura – Welinski

Gibson

Despite not having any single player lighting it up this season, the Ducks have gotten very balanced scoring from throughout their lineup despite their struggles overall in that area. Anaheim has 12 players with 10 points or more and that’s the kind of depth and secondary scoring that shot them towards the top of the Pacific Division before falling back to earth on this seven-game losing streak. While the Oilers’ top-end guys are easily outproducing the Ducks’ top players, they’re not getting the same kind of offence from their bottom six or their defence and that’s a major difference. And with news coming out that Rickard Rakell and Cam Fowler could be back in the lineup for today’s game, the Ducks could be getting an extra boost of firepower. Happy day.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…

From the OC Register:

Rickard Rakell ditched the red no-contact jersey he wore during the Ducks’ practice Thursday for a white one Saturday. He skated with Ryan Getzlaf and Pontus Aberg, a sign he could be set for a return to the lineup for Sunday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers.

Cam Fowler was paired with Josh Manson for Saturday’s practice at Honda Center, a familiar defense tandem and a sign he also might be ready to play again Sunday. Fowler was easy to identify, the only one on the ice wearing a full face shield.

Rakell and Fowler would be welcome additions to the Ducks’ lineup Sunday, as they attempt to end their second seven-game losing streak of the season (0-5-2). Rakell sat out Friday for the 12th game because of a sprained ankle. Fowler was sidelined for the 23rd game because of facial injuries.

The goal-starved Ducks have missed the offensive punch each brings to the lineup. The Ducks have averaged 2.4 goals per game, 30th in the 31-team NHL. Only the Kings, with an average of only 2.21 goals per game, have had a tougher time scoring.

TONIGHT…

Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk

Game Day Prediction: Despite getting goals from the team’s three best players, the Edmonton Oilers fall in OT for the second straight time against the Ducks. Anaheim takes this one 4-3 in the bonus period.

Obvious Game Day Prediction: Ryan Kesler continues his unprecedented reign of having the NHL’s most punchable face and for that we congratulate him.

Not So Obvious Game Day Prediction: Former coach Todd McLellan makes the trip to Anaheim to watch his former team play and to give Ken Hitchcock his condolences for having to come out of retirement to try and save Chiarelli’s job.


Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 1/06/2019 – 9:00 am MST