GDB 77.0: Keep the ball rolling against the Anaheim Ducks (8pm MT, HNIC)

Photo credit:© Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
1 year ago
It’s Saturday night and the Oilers are still in the mix to win the Pacific Division, which makes this third meeting of the season against the Anaheim Ducks feel all the more important. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s game day.
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Even though the Anaheim Ducks haven’t been a factor in anything outside of the draft lottery over the past five years, my hatred of this team from the way things played out in Round 2 of the 2017 playoffs burns as bright as ever. And no, I don’t care that most of that 2017 team is long gone at this point. Nothing makes me happier than knowing that Anaheim’s 15 fans won’t be enjoying playoff hockey this spring even though we all know that they’d probably rather be watching baseball or something anyway. Too much? I don’t think so. If anything, these days I feel like the dog from Duck Hunt holding up the dead carcasses that are the Ducks’ playoff dreams for another year. I also want the Ducks’ fanbase to know what it was like to get beat up on after all of those horrible losses during the years when the Oilers were rebuilding.
The good news is that the Oilers are playing some really damned good hockey right now, and that’s going to be more than a handful for the Ducks to handle. Not only are the Oilers the highest-scoring team in the NHL but the Ducks also give up a tonne of goals against, and to me, that sounds like taking a long walk down the short path to a good time. If the boys can keep the offence rolling as they have over the last two months then I don’t see any way that the Ducks will be able to stay afloat. That said, I’ve also been an Oilers fan my entire life and I know exactly what can happen when you take an opponent like this lightly. I’m sure we’ve all got examples in our minds of games the boys have blown over the years that were supposed to be layups, but I can’t see that happening this time. Anaheim has given up four+ goals in four of their last five games, which just so happens to be roughly how much the Edmonton Oilers score (3.95) on a nightly basis.
Let’s see what the numbers say…


Last 10 Games8-1-12-7-1
POWER PLAY%32.416.2
AVG. SHOTS/FOR33.328.4
TEAM SAVE%.911.911
CORSI FOR%52.1742.77
Numbers courtesy of Natural Stat Trick (Sv%, CF%, PDO, Shooting%, xGF% all at 5×5)
  • The Oilers are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games against Anaheim
  • Leon Draisaitl’s 29 power play goals are the most by any player since Mario Lemieux posted 31 in 1995-96. Over at Daily Faceoff, Frank Seravalli wrote about Draisaitl’s pursuit of the league record.
  • Connor McDavid leads the Oilers with 35 career points against the Ducks and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has played in a team-high 33 career games against Anaheim.




Kane – McDavid – Yamamoto
RNH – Draisaitl – Hyman
Foegele – Bjugstad – Janmark
Kostin – Ryan
Nurse – Ceci
Ekholm – Bouchard
Kulak – Desharnais
After the way the Oilers handled both the Golden Knights and Kings spectacularly, I’m curious to see if we’ll get any kind of roster updates for this evening’s battle against the Anaheim Ducks outside of Jack Campbell getting the start. While there’s little doubt that Edmonton has more skill in their lineup, that doesn’t mean this game will be a gimme either. If you remember, the boys lost to the Ducks back in December and I’d prefer not to see that happen again, meaning we’ll need the Oilers to bring their A-game to make sure they get the job done and collect these two points.
As a note, the line combos listed above are based on the last game so don’t put too much stock into anything you see here until we get official word. I will, however, jump in to make the edits as news becomes available.


Comtois – Strome – Vatrano
McGinn – Grant – Silfverberg
Jones – McTavish – Leason
Nesterenko – Lundestrom – Carrick
Fowler – Harrington
Beaulieu – White
Benoit – Shattenkirk
What else can you say about the Ducks’ season other than they’ve been awful from start to finish? At this point in the season, I can’t help but look at their roster and wonder how the veterans on the team are feeling as it’s beyond clear that they’re only a few weeks away from summer vacation. Will they try hard? Will they mail it in until game 82? All I know for sure is that the Oilers had better not take this team lightly. Even though Anaheim is sucking hard for Bedard — they’ve lost six straight games, coming into Rogers Place — they can still beat you if you’re not ready to go. That can’t happen.


From The Hockey Writers:
The Anaheim Ducks concluded their season series with the Seattle Kraken (Thursday) with a 4-1 loss at Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle. The Ducks took two of a possible eight points this season from the matchup and fell to 3-4-0 all-time against the NHL’s newest franchise. As of late, they have failed to grasp the opportunity to disrupt the playoff positioning of their opposition. Included in some of their latest defeats are playoff locks or hopefuls Colorado Avalanche, Winnipeg Jets, Calgary Flames, New York Islanders, and these Kraken.
(The Ducks) were without Trevor Zegras, Troy Terry, and Adam Henrique. When you’re down your top offensive players, your team doesn’t have much of a chance. With the Ducks merely counting down the days until the final whistle on their struggling season, let’s look at some takeaways from the game.
The Road to the Finish Doesn’t Get Any Easier
It’ll be a slow and potentially tortuous ending to the season for the Ducks, as they are likely to struggle against numerous opponents left on their schedule. To make matters worse, Zegras and Henrique aren’t healthy, and Terry will only be available for home games. The Edmonton Oilers are next, and you best believe they will be bringing everything they have to this matchup. They are in a battle for home-ice advantage against their likely first-round opponent Los Angeles Kings. Let’s see how the Ducks handle Connor McDavid, Leon Draisatl, and company on Saturday night.


Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk
Game Day Prediction: The Oilers know how big this game is even though the opponent is down and out. Make it a 4-2 win for the boys.
Obvious Game Day Prediction: Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl both register multi-point nights and other fanbases across Canada will find something new and creative to complain about.
Not-So-Obvious Game Day Prediction: The fourth time that I predict Vinny Desharnais’ first NHL goal will be the one. I know it this time. If not, look out for Derek Ryan to score in his place.

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