Be sure to check out the latest Oilers game day odds from NHL odds site Betway.
It’s been years since the Oilers played a meaningful hockey game against the Anaheim Ducks. In fact you can probably look back to the 2016-17 post-season to when these two teams played in a significant game against each other. But tonight, for the Edmonton Oilers at least, this is a damn important game.
They’ve skidded through this season and the last 10 games are no different going 4-4-2. They come into this game barely holding onto the second wild card spot in the West and are tied with the St. Louis Blues for that spot both with 45 points. The Nashville Predators are one point back. The Colorado Avalanche are two points back.
This is a big game for the Oilers, doubly so considering they got embarrassed on home ice by the Ducks earlier in the season. How can we forget the 4-3 loss where their third-stringer Lukas Dostal put up 46 saves?
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We’ll get our first look at Vincent Desharnais in an NHL uniform. He was recalled by the Oilers a few days ago as the team continues to look at options on their backend. He’s a big, strong defender, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them go 11/7 to facilitate less pressure on him.
Vinny Desharnais is a defence first shut down defender. He’s adapt at playing both sides at the AHL level despite being a right shot. His size, reach, and willingness to block shots without regard for his body makes him a great penalty killer. He’s a very physical player who can shut down the cycle using body. He also isn’t afraid to throw ‘em although the injury to his hand/wrist has prevented him from doing so.
The issue for Desharnais at the NHL level will be his lateral mobility. East-west attacks give him challenges and players who put the puck into the triangle between his feet and stick do as well.His passing skills will be challenged as well at this level. Can he outlet the puck to skill players in tight windows?
He played a lot with Philip Broberg in a 1D pairing with the Condors. I’ll be curious when he plays, how he’s deployed.
Worth noting that the Oilers are also without Stuart Skinner for the time being. He’s back in Edmonton as his wife, Chloe, prepares to give birth to their firstborn. That means we’ll get a look at Jack Campbell in net tonight, and likely again on Friday against San Jose at the very least.
He’s been… not great this season posting a 9-8-1 record, a .877 save percentage and a 3.68 GAA. We’ve seen some ever-so-slight improvements as of late with his save percentage bumping up to a .893. This is the perfect time for him to grab the reins and run with them.
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GDB PRESENTED BY BETWAY

LINEUPS…

Oilers

*Updated*
Holloway-McDavid-Yamamoto
McLeod-Draisaitl-Hyman
Kostin-RNH-Janmark
Foegele-Puljujarvi
Nurse-Ceci
Kulak-Barrie
Broberg-Bouchard
Desharnais

Ducks

Henrique – McTavish – Terry
Zegras – Strome – Vatrano
Comtois – Carrick – Silfverberg
Megna – Leason
Fowler – Kulikov
Benoit – Klingberg
Vaakanainen – Shattenkirk
White
Gibson

TONIGHT…

Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk
GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers come out swinging and lay a 5-2 thumping of the Ducks. The powerplay scores two.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Connor McDavid leads the charge with a multi-point night making it the 22nd time he’s done so this season.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Evan Bouchard breaks a 20-game goalless drought.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at [email protected]