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GDB 70.0 Wrap Up: Oilers cruise through Anaheim with easy 6-1 win over the Ducks

For the first time since 2005-06, the Edmonton Oilers have swept a season series with Anaheim.

The Oilers also took down the Mighty Ducks in five games in the Western Conference Final that season, but history won’t repeat itself in that regard as Anaheim is set to miss the playoffs for the fourth year in a row. That’s the longest playoff drought in Mighty Duck franchise history.

The Ducks came into Sunday’s game struggling to keep pucks out of the net and the Oilers came into the game scoring like mad, so things went just about how you’d have expected them to.

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Tyson Barrie scored five minutes into the game to give the Oilers the early lead and they never looked back, as Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins also scored in the first frame. Despite Edmonton’s history with Anaheim and 3-0 leads, the game went along smoothly after that. The Ducks got themselves on the board in the third period but Leon Draisaitl buried his 50th of the season to put the game to bed.

Mike Smith also came up with 31 saves, ensuring that Anaheim never had a sniff. 

Things worth mentioning…

  • The big story of this game was Leon Draisaitl, for a couple of reasons. Draisaitl threw a hit on Trevor Zegras early in the game and fell somewhat awkwardly into the boards. He didn’t play for the remaining few minutes in the first after he got shook up, but he did stay in the game and played in the second and third periods. Let’s hope he’s okay, because the Oilers obviously can’t afford to lose Draisaitl for any period of time.

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  • Draisaitl also scored his 50th goal of the season late in the third period. It’s the second time in Draisaitl’s career that he’s reached the 50-goal plateau. The other was in 2018-19 and he reached 50 in the final game of the season. This time around, it took Draisaitl only 70 games, so he has plenty of time to build on that career-high. Draisaitl is one goal behind Auston Matthews in the Rocket Richard Trophy race.

  • This was an important one for Edmonton to win as the Vegas Golden Knights also pulled out an overtime victory over the Vancouver Canucks. The Oilers are back to within one point back of the L.A. Kings with a game in hand while the Golden Knights remain a point back with one more game played than Edmonton. The Oilers and Kings will square off on Thursday. Before that, the Oilers will head up to San Jose to face the Sharks.
  • Might we see Stuart Skinner get a start for the Oilers this week? He was called up on an emergency basis as Mikko Koskinen is dealing with a non-COVID illness. If Koskinen isn’t ready for Tuesday, would Jay Woodcroft go back to Smith after a good outing in Anaheim? Or would he give Skinner a start? I would guess Woodcroft leans with the veteran.