The Oilers wrap up their two game California road trip tonight against the Ducks in Anaheim. For those who didn't already know, the Oilers are the worst team in the Western Conference with a 7-16-5 record. The Ducks are the best team in the West and have an 18-6-5 record. The Oilers played last night in San Jose, and this will be their third game in four nights. The Ducks haven't played since Sunday. To say that thing do not look good for the Oilers tonight would be putting it nicely.
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What To Watch For From The Oilers
Because his team was playing on back-to-back nights (or at least I hope this was the reason), Dallas Eakins was still playing his fourth line in the third period when trailing by two goals; not a great strategy if you're looking for a comeback. Once the Sharks scored their fifth goal of the evening the Oilers' fourth line got two more shifts as Eakins just ran out the clock. Better to save the legs for the next night than waste them on a game that was already lost. If by some miracle the Oilers manage to keep this close going into the final period it will be very interesting to see how Eakins handles his bench late in the game. But hey, guys like Gazdic who just play five minutes a night doesn't really hurt the team, right?
What To Watch For From The Ducks
The folks at Anaheim Calling are looking to learn this from tonight's game:
We can learn if Jakob Silfverberg is finally turning a corner on his season. He has goals in each of his last two games and points in each of his last four, but before that he had just one goal on the year. According to my eye test, he's looked very good in most of his games, but he just keeps missing his shots. According to the possession numbers, he's been pretty good but not great. Hopefully he has reached a turning point in terms of putting the puck in the net, and does exactly that tonight.
Project Line Combinations
Taylor Hall - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Tyler Pitlick
Nail Yakupov - Leon Draisaitl - Jordan Eberle
David Perron - Mark Arcobello - Teddy Purcell
Luke Gazdic - Matt Hendricks - Steve Pinizzotto
Andrew Ference - Jeff Petry
Oscar Klefbom - Mark Fayne
Keith Aulie - Justin Schultz