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Preview: Game 16 - Oilers @ Ducks

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Hello, Western Conference Basement. I see you've still got the cot rolled out.

RNH was back on the top line in Tuesday's practice.
RNH was back on the top line in Tuesday's practice.
Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports


Edmonton

@

Anaheim
5-10-0, 10 points, .667 p/g Ranks 5-7-3, 13 points, .867 p/g
Western Conference - 14th Western Conference - 11th
28th P/G 23rd
13th ST 14th
24th S/G 21st
27th Goal 9th
8 PM MDT
TV - Sportsnet One
Radio - 630 CHED
Honda Center
The opposing view:  Anaheim Calling


The Hits Keep On A-Coming

Oiler fans got an up-close and personal meeting with Artemi Panarin in Sunday's 4-2 loss to the Blackhawks.  Panarin scored once in the first minute of play, and later again in the first period en route to a three point day (2-1-3). Jordan Eberle scored a power play goal early in the second period to bring the Oilers within one, but Patrick Kane would put the Blackhawks up 3-1 in the middle of the second.  Andrej Sekera scored late in the second to help claw the Oilers back to striking distance, but ultimately the Blackhawks would hang on and add a late power play goal en route to a 4-2 victory.

The Oilers are in Anaheim today to take on the Ducks.  Anaheim had an absolutely dreadful start to the season, and they're in the process of turning it around.  Still, they're averaging only 1.6 goals per game.  The Oilers have got to start winning games if they want to salvage the season.  Do we have a match?

Let's go to the tape.

The Oilers are saying

"There's no easy night in this league...We are looking at it as any other game and will try to get two points out of it."

Source

That's Oilers head coach Todd McLellan on his Oilers squad visiting a Ducks club who struggled badly out of the gate.  How badly?  1-7-2 badly.  Quick math would show you that they've recovered with nine points in their last five games (4-0-1), their last game being an OTL against the Coyotes.  The Ducks have averaged three goals a game in their last five, and there's reason to believe that their slump is very much busted.

The opponents are saying

"(Edmonton has) a different coach and approach to things...They've got a different attitude.  They definitely have the talent.  We know our hands are full because these are teams we've beaten in the past.  They're ready to put us down.  We better be ready to play."

Source
That's Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau on his club facing an Oilers squad who typically has trouble in Anaheim.

Boudreau suggests that the Oilers will be ready to put the Ducks down.  The Oilers have a power play that ranks fifth in the league at 22.9%.  Can the Oilers play a full period with the man advantage?

Have some of this
  • If this sticks for game time, you've got RNH on the first line right wing, Mark Letestu...on...line 2, Jordan Eberle on line three, and utter freaking chaos on line four.
  • Taylor Hall was held without a point in Sunday's 4-2 loss to the Blackhawks, but he's leading the Oilers with sixteen points (4-12-16).  Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has twelve (5-7-12), as does Connor McDavid, who hasn't played in about a week, but it feels more like several months.
  • The Ducks have been very bad, and then pretty good.  One thing that's remained consistent for them is their goaltending, which has been very good.  Frederik Andersen (3-5-3, .929 SV% / 2.19 GAA) may not have a pretty win/loss record, but a .929 SV% is superiour.  If the Ducks could score some goals in the first ten games of the season, there's a strong chance they'd be at the top of the league. Edmonton will need a strong performance from their goaltender, whether it's Cam Talbot (3-7, .893 SV% / 3.00 GAA) or Anders Nilsson (2-3, .911 SV% / 3.09 GAA)
  • For the Oilers, Connor McDavid (deep heavy sigh, clavicle), Lauri Korpikoski (undisclosed / concussion?) Justin Schultz (back) and Rob Klinkhammer (lower body) are out of the lineup.  Matt Hendricks (foot) is questionable, and will be replaced by Luke Gazdic if he's unable to go.   Anaheim will be without Jiri Sekac (ankle), Simon Despres (upper body), and Nate Thompson (shoulder). Forward Rickard Rakell (upper body) is questionable with an upper body injury.