Is anyone else hoping that a date with the Ducks will be just what the doctor ordered to ease the saltiness left over from Thursday night’s loss to the Blues? Yeah, me too. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s game day.
Be sure to check out the latest Oilers game day odds from NHL betting site Betway
After blowing a two-goal lead against the Blues on Thursday night, I was curious to see what kind of response the Oilers would come up with in their first of four meetings against the Anaheim Ducks. To put it lightly, the Ducks are a team that the Oilers should be on most nights — they’ve literally won two regulation games all season — and anything less than two points would be a massive disappointment. Toss in the fact that the boys should be rolling into this game with a chip on their shoulders based on how the last game ended, and you’ve got the makings of a grudge game for the ages. That said, we also know full well what happens when we count our chickens against a weaker opponent because just as much as I’m expecting a win this afternoon, I also wouldn’t be surprised to see us get goalie’d and be raging mad when all is said and done. If I was to bet on it — and I did exactly that — then I’d suggest that the Oilers will be improving upon their 52-52-2-8 all-time record against the Ducks, but one can never truly be sure. Back in the win column in a Saturday matinee? We shall see.
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Standing in the way of two important points are the Anaheim Ducks, a team that has lost eight of their last 10 games and been outscored 43 to 21 over that stretch. The Ducks obviously struggle at both ends of the rink, and those struggles are something the Oilers will be able to take advantage of provided that they play to their potential. If the Oilers give us a full 60-minute effort, then I see no reason why this afternoon’s game should result in two points on the board. Much like last week’s win over the Coyotes, the boys need to approach this game with the goal of dominating the game, and while I don’t necessarily expect another touchdown (plus a rouge) on the scoreboard, I do expect the same level of effort. My own confidence aside, the Ducks still have players that can burn you if given the chance and it will be up to the Oilers to make sure they’re executing at a level that doesn’t provide their opponents with any extra opportunities. That lack of execution is the reason the boys lost to St. Louis despite playing generally well overall, and I’m hopeful that everyone in a blue and orange jersey learned from those mistakes.
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Let’s see what the numbers say.

THE NUMBERS

OILERS
DUCKS
RECORD
17-13-1
8-20-3
WIN/LOSS STREAK
L1
W1
Last 10 Games
6-3-1
2-6-2
GOALS FOR
112
75
GOALS AGAINST
106
132
POWER PLAY%
31.9
15.1
PENALTY KILL%
73.3
67.3
AVG. SHOTS/FOR
31.7
30.1
AVG. SHOTS/AGAINST
33.2
37.3
TEAM SAVE%
.915
.908
CORSI FOR%
49.65
44.53
PDO
0.996
0.976
TEAM SHOOTING%
8.10
6.84
EXPECTED GOALS FOR%
49.71
40.23
Numbers courtesy of Natural Stat Trick (Sv%, CF%, PDO, Shooting%, xGF% all at 5×5)
  • Connor McDavid is currently on an 11-game point streak (11G, 14A)
  • Leon Draisaitl has 10 points (3G, 8A) in his last five games
  • Zach Hyman is on a five-game point streak (5G, 3A)
  • Tyson Barrie is on a five-game point streak (9A)
  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has eight points (3G, 5A) in his last five games

GDB PRESENTED BY BETWAY

LINEUPS…

Oilers ***UPDATED***

Draisaitl – McDavid – Hyman
Janmark – RNH – Yamamoto
Holloway – Ryan – Puljujarvi
Kostin – Shore – Foegele
Nurse – Ceci
Kulak – Barrie
Niemelainen – Bouchard
Skinner
I don’t care what anybody says, this is a must-win game for the Edmonton Oilers. No, I don’t mean it’s a must-win in terms of staying alive in the playoff race, but rather at a spiritual or emotional level. The way I look at it, beating up on the worst teams in the league is an important part of any contender’s diet, and if the Oilers want to take the next step, they need to make sure to never pass up on these opportunities for “easy” points. Am I wrong? I don’t think so.
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At the time of posting, the line combos above are not correct as the Oilers/media have yet to release today’s lines and d-pairings. I will jump back in and update the lineups as news becomes available. 

Ducks

Henrique – Zegras – Terry
Vatrano – Strome – Silfverberg
Comtois – McTavish – Leason
Megna – Carrick
Fowler – Kulikov
Benoit – Klingberg
Vaakanainen – Shattenkirk
Beaulieu
Dostal
Over their last four games, the Ducks have a 1-3 record and have been outscored by an 18-6 margin. Just awful. I know that I expected the Ducks to be bad this year but they’re lowering the bar in a way that’s almost inspirational in a year when being awful could land you Connor Bedard.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…

It was hard to miss John Klingberg’s smile after he scored in the first period of the Ducks’ 5-2 win against the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night.
Joy? Relief?
You could understand if it was both, considering it was the defenseman’s first goal since Nov. 15. Actually, it was neither.
“Not really. I was just smiling or laughing because I missed the shot and it still went in,” Klingberg said. “I feel I’ve got to be more involved offensively and got to play better defensively too. As I’ve said before, it goes hand in hand.”
His offense wasn’t limited to one goal. Klingberg had what proved to be the game-winning goal at 10:55 of the third period, giving the Ducks a 3-2 lead, helped by a screen in front by teammate Ryan Strome. The Canadiens gave Klingberg plenty of room and he took advantage.
“I think they over-back-checked a little bit,” Klingberg said. “The puck bounced and Frankie (Vatrano) found me on the blue line and I had more time than I thought as well. I could step in and pick the corner. It’s always nice to see it go in.”
It was Klingberg’s first two-goal game with the Ducks, an up-and-down personal season which has mirrored the Ducks’ struggles. There have been times when it looked like he was trending in the right direction but couldn’t sustain it. An injury just before Thanksgiving kept him out of the lineup for seven games.
“He showed how hard he can shoot the puck,” Ducks coach Dallas Eakins said. “He has just got an unbelievable shot. He’s had some bad luck this year too. He’s rung a number (of shots) off the post. I thought that was going to happen to us again tonight.”

TONIGHT…

Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk
Game Day Prediction: The Oilers kick off your Saturday afternoon with a tasty little 4-2 win over the Ducks.
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Obvious Game Day Prediction: Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl will both register multi-point afternoons.
Not-So-Obvious Game Day Prediction: Despite the loss that’s coming, Dallas Eakins feels oddly at home after getting blown out in Edmonton.

BETTER LAIT THAN NEVER

Have you ever moved across the country to a suburb you didn’t research and then claim a city you didn’t actually live in was lame? Seems silly, right? Of course. That said, I sure did have a whole lot of fun making fun of the lady that did exactly that in the latest edition of Toronto Life magazine. Subscribe to Better Lait Than Never for FREE on SpotifyApple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts, and wherever else you get your podcasts from!