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GAME PREVIEW: Edmonton Oilers @ Anaheim Ducks

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Oilers look to go 2-0 in the Hitchcock Era™

NHL: Edmonton Oilers at San Jose Sharks
Hitchin’ a ride
Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Edmonton Oilers (10-10-1) (5th, Pacfic)

Anaheim Ducks (9-9-5) (3rd, Pacific)

2 PM MST

Honda Center

TV: Sportsnet West

Radio: 630 CHED

SB Nation Opponent: Anaheim Calling

HITCH-STOPPED

The Oilers put the brakes on a two game losing streak with a 4-3 OT victory at the Shark Tank. Leon Draisaitl scored the OT winner less than a minute into overtime, Connor McDavid had three points on the night, Drake Caggiula had an important goal in the third to tie it up at 3-all, and Ken Hitchcock was victorious in his Oilers debut. It’s a pretty optimistic feel about the club after a victory, can the Oilers keep the good times rolling this afternoon in Anaheim?

Let’s go to the tape.

The Oilers are saying

“Having an opportunity to play for a well-established coach is something that I’m looking forward to with the structure and the demand in the way he likes the game played. It will be good for me and the team as well. I’m looking forward to the opportunity for myself, but for the team as well. It could be a great fit for everyone.”

Source

That’s newly acquired Oilers defenceman Chris Wideman. Wideman was acquired from the Senators yesterday in a trade that sent a sixth round draft pick to Ottawa.

A fourth round pick in the 2009 entry draft, Chris Wideman is a good candidate to fill the role that the recently departed Eric Gryba had with the club over the past two seasons, until Chiarelli paid Eric Gryba to go play for New Jersey. Wideman could fill in as the third RD should Matt Benning or Kris Russell find themselves unable to dress.

The Ducks are saying

We’re building. We have to keep getting better. Now that’s a few games in a row where we’ve put together a good effort together and got a few results. We got to just continue to build on this.

Source

That’s Ryan Getzlaf after Anaheim’s 4-3 victory over those meddling Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday night.

With Anaheim’s victory over Vancouver, the Ducks have just nine wins in 23 games so far this season. Factor in some overtime losses, and they’re hanging out at third place in the Pacific right now.

HAVE SOME OF THIS

  • “Cautious Optimism” should be a mantra for every Oilers fan. Bring in a new head coach, but don’t fire the guy who’s pulling the strings up top? Cautious Optimism. Fair to remember Ken Hitchcock as the guy who was the bench boss of every damn Dallas squad that gave Edmonton fits from the late 90s to the mid 2000s, but he’s won over a lot of folks after his first game behind the Oilers bench this week. One reason? Putting Milan Lucic on the fourth line with Kyle Brodziak and Zack Kassian. Putting the struggling big man on line four probably isn’t what anyone was thinking before the start of the season, but for now, it’s absolutely making the best of a bad situation I’m not sure that’s something that McLellan would have ever done. That’s a combo that’s probably going to stick for at least a part of today’s game, as 27-28-44 were a thing again yesterday in practice.
  • Three more points for Connor McDavid against the Sharks? He’s got 31 (13-18-31) in 21 games. He trails Colorado’s Mikko Rantanen by three for the lead.
  • GOAL TROUBLE: The Ducks can’t score very much this year. They’ve got just 52 goals in 23 games, that puts them at 29th in the league.
  • NET GAINS For the Oilers, I’d expect Mikko Koskinen to start today (5-2-0, .913 SV% / 2.65 GAA / 1 SO). Look for John Gibson (7-7-4, .927 SV% / 2.58 GAA / 1 SO) to get the nod for the Ducks.
  • SICK BAY - For the Oilers, Andrej Sekera (ankle) is out indefinitely, while Tobias Rieder (upper body) will be out for a few more weeks. For the Ducks, Cam Fowler (upper body) and Corey Perry (knee) are out indefinitely. Hampus Lindholm (lower body) and Patrick Eaves (back) are day-to-day.