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GDB 72.0: Oilers look to keep their win streak alive in final meeting against the Ducks (2pm MT, SNW)

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Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
baggedmilk
18 days ago
We’re coming down the home stretch of the 2023-24 season, and our beloved Oilers need to pick up every point they can get to ensure home-ice advantage for the first round of the playoffs. That need makes this afternoon’s matchup against the Anaheim Ducks all the more important as Edmonton looks to continue putting space between themselves and the Los Angeles Kings.
Be sure to check out the latest NHL playoff odds with online sportsbook Betway.
I don’t want to get too ahead of myself here, but I don’t think I’m talking out of school when I say this is a game the Oilers have to win. By no means am I saying it’s a must-win situation or anything like that, but I am saying it’s an excellent opportunity to cash in two points against a team that’s not very good.
Of course, we’ve seen the Oilers lose games against bad teams lately, and that’s why no one in blue and orange should be looking past the task at hand. If anything, I need the boys to look at this game against Ducks like it’s the most important game in the history of the world. This can’t be one of those games where the boys play down to their competition, you know?
The good news is that the Oilers have dominated the Ducks so far this season. Through the first three games of the season series, Edmonton has outscored Anaheim by a whopping 20-7 margin. All three of those games were puck line wins for the boys, but we also know that past results don’t necessarily guarantee future success. The best thing the Oilers can do would be to demoralize the Ducks early and let them know very clearly that they have no chance of hanging around.
Anaheim is sporting a dreadful 1-8-1 record over their last 10 games, and arrive at Rogers Place for this afternoon’s matchup riding a three-game losing streak where they’ve been outscored 11-4 overall. And while our first thought may be that numbers like this make a win today as close to a lock as it gets, there are no gimmes in the NHL and it will be up to the Oilers to play up to their own standards.
The last thing any of us need for our long weekend is for the Oilers to look past a weaker opponent and risk missing out on two massive points in the standings. We’ve already seen losses at the hands of the Blue Jackets, Sabres, and Senators this month, and I’d really like to avoiding duffing an amazing opportunity to inch their way closer to home ice in round one of the playoffs.
Let’s see what the numbers say…

THE NUMBERS

OILERSDUCKS
RECORD44-23-424-45-4
WIN/LOSS STREAKW2L3
LAST 10 GAMES6-2-21-8-1
GOALS FOR256179
GOALS AGAINST205263
POWER PLAY%27.722.1
PENALTY KILL%79.975.8
AVG. SHOTS/FOR33.727.6
AVG. SHOTS/AGAINST28.531.9
TEAM SAVE%.914.909
CORSI FOR%55.0546.62
PDO1.0000.982
TEAM SHOOTING%8.607.33
EXPECTED GOALS FOR%54.7641.06
Numbers courtesy of Natural Stat Trick (Sv%, CF%, PDO, Shooting%, xGF% all at 5×5)
  • The Oilers have won all three matchups against the Ducks this season by a combined score of 20-7. Dating back to the 2022-23 season, Edmonton has now won six straight games against the Ducks.
  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins leads all active Oilers in career games played against Anaheim (38) while Connor McDavid leads all active Oilers in career points (48) versus the Ducks.
  • The Oilers’ power play is starting to heat up again, scoring a goal in six straight games (8-for-21 for 38.1%). At the other end of the rink, the PK has now killed off 30 of the last 36 times (83.3%) shorthanded situations they’ve faced over the last 13 games.
  • Today’s game marks the first for Adam Henrique and Sam Carrick against their former club after both were acquired by the Oilers on March 6th leading up to the trade deadline. Henrique spent parts of seven seasons with the Ducks, suiting up in 435 games (15th most in Anaheim’s franchise history) and recording 264 points (135G, 129A). Carrick played parts of six seasons with the organization, skating in 205 games and tallying 46 points (25G, 21A).

GAME DAY ARTICLE PRESENTED BY BETWAY

LINEUPS…

Oilers

RNH – McDavid – Hyman
Henrique – Draisaitl – Foegele
Kane – McLeod – Perry
Janmark – Carrick – Brown
Nurse – Stecher
Ekholm – Bouchard
Kulak – Desharnais
Pickard
Outside of bringing in Sam Carrick to play against this old team and Calvin Pickard between the pipes, I was curious to see if there would be any lineup changes for Kris Knoblauch and the Oilers. I mean, the last two games against Winnipeg and LA have been two of the better efforts the boys have given us lately, so why fix something that isn’t broken?
But then we got some new line combos again at practice yesterday. Knobby had Connor Brown rotating in on the 4th line with Derek Ryan, though I imagine the former will play, and also mentioned that Cody Ceci is sick and could be a game time decision, so we’ll have to wait and see what happens.

Ducks

Killorn – Carlsson – Terry
Vatrano – Zegras – Strome
Meyers – Lundestrom – Leason
Johnston – McTavish – Silfverberg
Vaakanainen – Fowler
Mintyukov – Lacombe
Lagesson – Lindstrom
Dostal
The Ducks stink — it really is as simple as that. Even so, there are still players littered throughout their lineup that can give the Oilers issues if given the time, space, and opportunities. All I’m saying here is that our boys need to give a full 60 minutes, and even though the Ducks are mostly terrible, I’d really like to avoid given them any space or belief that they can pull off the upset.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…

Discipline will need to be a focus against the Oilers, their second-ranked power play and a cast of stars that coach Kris Knoblauch wouldn’t dream of benching.
They made relatively light work of the Kings in a 4-1 win on Thursday, winning the season series against the same team they’ve knocked out of two straight postseasons (they’ve won all three meetings against the Ducks in two blowouts and a come-from-behind victory). Connor McDavid had two assists to close within two points of the NHL scoring lead and five assists of 100 for the season.
There have been only 13 campaigns of 100 assists or more in NHL history. The feat was accomplished by the holy trinity of Wayne Gretzky (11 times), Mario Lemieux and Bobby Orr, who is McDavid’s mentor. McDavid seemed destined to cross that threshold and become the first player to do so since Gretzky did with the Kings in 1991.
McDavid also joined Gretzky as one of just seven players to record three straight 120-point seasons (Lemieux, Marcel Dionne, Guy Lafleur, Phil Esposito and Paul Coffey are the other five) and the first since The Great One did so between 1990 and 1992.
McDavid has compiled 55 points in 26 games since the All-Star break, 16 more than any other skater. The three players with 39 points across that span are fellow Art Ross Trophy aspirants Nathan MacKinnon and Nikita Kucherov, as well as McDavid’s teammate and former scoring champion Leon Draisaitl.
While it might not have the array of weapons Edmonton does – the Oilers also boast a 50-goal scorer in Zach Hyman, a 100-point point producer last season in Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and, for good measure, 2011 MVP and former Duck Corey Perry – Vancouver has been roughly as potent in sum.

TONIGHT…

Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk
GAME DAY PREDICTION: You’re telling me you wouldn’t love to watch the Oilers lock in a 4-2 win against the Anaheim Ducks?
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Another day, another two assists on the pile for Connor McDavid. I’m also calling for revenge game goals from both Corey Perry and Adam Henrique.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Remember this not-so-obvious prediction when Vinny Desharnais scores his second goal of the season.

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