Game Notes: Anaheim Ducks @ Edmonton Oilers
By Cam Lewis7 months ago
The Edmonton Oilers have six games remaining on their schedule this season and four of them are against basement-dwelling teams.
They’ll host the Anaheim Ducks tonight, then they’ll go on a four-game road trip in which they play the Los Angeles Kings, Ducks, San Jose Sharks, and Colorado Avalanche, and then they’ll finish off the regular season at home against the Sharks.
Edmonton has been playing their best hockey of the season lately and a strong finish could land them the top spot in the Pacific Division, perhaps even the Western Conference.
1. The Ducks are rolling into Edmonton on a six-game losing streak. It’s one of four skids they’ve had this season that’s lasted at least six games. Anaheim’s longest losing streak of seven games came right at the start of the season following an opening night win over the Seattle Kraken in overtime. Their first regulation win of 2022-23 didn’t come until their 20th game of the season, a 3-2 win over the New York Rangers on November 23.
2. There’s quite the tank battle going on right now for the top odds in the Connor Bedard sweepstakes. The Chicago Blackhawks have 54 points through 75 games, the Blue Jackets have 54 points through 74 games, the Ducks have 56 points through 75 games, and the Sharks have 57 points through 75 games. The team that finishes last will have a 25.5 percent chance of selecting first overall at this summer’s draft. The next three teams will have odds of 13.5, 11.5, and 9.5 percent, so it’s definitely still worthwhile to finish in last place.
3. While the Ducks appear to be an easy win on paper, the Oilers have learned throughout the season that nothing in the NHL is automatic. They lost by a score of 4-3 to the Ducks in Edmonton back in November and dropped both of their games against the Blue Jackets this season.
The Oilers are obviously a very different team now than they were back in November when they dropped that frustrating game to the Ducks. Since acquiring Mattias Ekholm on February 28, the Oilers have posted a 12-2-1 record, good for an .833 points percentage matched only by the Minnesota Wild, who went 11-1-3 over that same period of time.
4. If the Oilers were to win their remaining six games on the schedule, they would finish the season with 109 points, which would be tied with the 1984-85 team for the fourth-most in franchise history. Edmonton’s best regular-season result is 119 points, which happened in both 1983-84 and 1985-86. Their best finish since the 1980s came last season when they recorded 104 points.
5. There are also some interesting personal milestones to watch for in these final six games.
Connor McDavid is five goals shy of passing Alex Ovechkin’s 65-goal season in 2007-08 for the most in a single season in the salary cap era. He needs 16 points to join Wanye Gretzky and Mario Lemieux in an exclusive club of the only players ever to score 160 points in a single season in league history. The highest-scoring non-Gretzky or Lemieux season came when Steve Yzerman scored 155 points in 1988-89. McDavid needs 12 points to jump Yzerman.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is five goals away from reaching the 40-goal mark for the first time in his career and he’s four points away from joining the 100-point club. Leon Draisaitl needs three more goals to reach 50 for the third time in his career and three points would also get him to the 120-point mark for the first time.
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