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Ducks @ Oilers Game 79 Preview

No really, this is the last time the Ducks play the Oilers this year.

Achievement unlocked:  road victory
Achievement unlocked: road victory
Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports



50-19-8, 1.402 p/g Ranks 27-42-9, .808 p/g
Western Conference: 2nd Western Conference: 14th
3rd P/G 28th
7th ST 26th
2nd ES 29th
10th Goal 30th
Rexall Place
The opposing view: Anaheim Calling
Tickets - TiqIQ

A victory?  On the road?

Just 41 ticks remained in regulation time before the Oilers would sulk back onto the plane headed home for the final homestand of the season.  A third period goal by Sam Gagner helped propel tie the game at 2 and send the game into overtime.  Sam Gagner scored the only shootout goal, and the Oilers emerged from Phoenix with two points. Portions of Oil Country are flipping out because the win puts Edmonton third last in the league, lowering Edmonton's chances at attaining the coveted first round pick.  Something about chickens and counting them before they hatch.

A single point from Friday's OT loss to the Oilers puts a slight damper on Phoenix's postseason chances.  A victory by Dallas over Tampa Bay yesterday all but demands Phoenix win each of their last four games to have a good shot at the postseason.

The Oilers are saying

"We want to keep climbing the ladder.  We've hit the peak and we've gone down the valley a few times, but we want to continue these next four games on a high note"

That's Oilers forward Matt Hendricks on how winning is good, and losing is less good.

Losing sucks a lot.  I hope it's 20 years or more until we have another conversation about winning a draft lottery. We're nearly four years since the day Taylor Hall was drafted, and I'd argue that although the team has some flashy pieces in the mix, the complimentary parts to success are still woefully absent.  Instead, we're a fanbase divided on whether or not the team should enter tank mode so that the club can be sure to nab Aaron Ekblad in June's draft.

The Oilers can finish no better than 28th overall, and there's a significant chance they'll finish 29th overall.  Rest assured that should the team keep their first  round pick that they'll draft a fine 18 year old to stick in the lineup come October.

The Opponent is saying

"We haven't been good defensively.  That's one aspect of our game that we have to get better at for the playoffs"
That's Anaheim defenceman Francois Beauchemin talking about team defence after a loss to the Nashville Predators on Friday.

When you've got 50 wins out of 77 games, it's hard to find fault with most anything that's going on for your hockey club, but Francois Beauchemin goes out and calls out the Ducks' defence.  The Ducks are the only team to have a better than a .500 win percentage when trailing after the first period (.541), but they're tenth overall in goals allowed per game and tenth overall in shots allowed (just over 29).  Reason to panic?  The Ducks have played a fair bit of catch-up over the past week, and they finally ran out of gas against Nashville.

Still reason to panic?  It might not be all roses, but breathe a little easier, Francois.  Anaheim leads the league in goals scored per game at 3.21. I'd worry if that number starts to dry up.

Have some of this
  • According to Jack Michaels, Andrew Ference (torn pectoral muscle) "might" have played with Anton Belov against Phoenix on Friday.  That never panned out, but I wouldn't be surprised to hear something like this again today.  Also, if you're waiting to see Nail Yakupov again this season, you're likely going to be waiting for a bit.
  • I've got Ben Scrivens (8-10, .916%) in net again tonight for the Oilers.  Club might try to stick Fasth in there, but I've got Scrivens because I half-believe the team wants to see Scrivens in several uncomfortable situations to see if he'll lose his mind after being frustrated for a set period of time.
  • Anaheim has five games remaining on their season, 108 points and two games in hand over Pacific Division rival San Jose, who has 107 points.  If Anaheim takes this evening's game over the Oilers, it'll put the Ducks in the division's front seat with four games to go.
  • UNRELATED - Hey there, Winnipeg.  I hear you're not happy with Evander Kane.  Now listen up, I'll be willing to help you get him off of your hands.  I'll be happy to throw in some "character" or "grit" to get this started.  We've got that in spades.  If you'd like to unload Dustin Byfuglien while you're at it, I'm sure we can come to a deal.  But I'm serious about Kane.  Here's my number.  Call me.
Les Ducks d'Anaheim

Nick Bonino - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry

Patrick Maroon - Mathieu Perreault - Kyle Palmieri

Andrew Cogliano - Saku Koivu - Teemu Selanne

Matt Beleskey - Rickard Rakell - Daniel Winnik

Stephane Robidas - Francois Beauchemin

Ben Lovejoy - Luca Sbisa

Bryan Allen - Hampus Lindholm

Jonas Hiller


Les Oilers d'Edmonton

Taylor Hall - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Jordan Eberle

Anton Lander - Sam Gagner - David Perron

Ryan SmythBoyd Gordon - Steve Pinizzotto

Matt HendricksWill Acton - Philip Larsen

Martin MarincinJeff Petry

Oscar KlefbomJustin Schultz

Mark FraserAnton Belov

Ben Scrivens