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GAME PREVIEW: Edmonton Oilers vs. Anaheim Ducks

The Oilers look to wrap up their three game homestand with a perfect 3-0 record.

Calgary Flames v Edmonton Oilers
Wish You Were Here
Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images

Edmonton Oilers (2-0-0) vs

Anaheim Ducks (2-1-0)

18 October 2021

Rogers Place

7 PM MST

TV: Sportsnet One

Radio: 630 CHED

SB Nation Opponent: Anaheim Calling

TWO IN A ROW

The Oilers took care of the Calgary Flames in this year’s first Battle of Alberta back on Saturday night by a 5-2 margin. Connor McDavid had a pair of goals and an empty netter to make it a hat trick, Jesse Pujujärvi scored his second goal in as many games, and Derek Ryan got things by scoring his first goal of the season midway through the first period. Mike Smith turned aside 45 shots in the victory, the Oilers will take two points and the W to keep things tidy.

The Oilers look to make it a perfect 3-0 to start the season with a visit from the Anaheim Ducks. The Ducks are fresh off an OT victory over the Calgary Flames, and they’d no doubt love to keep things rolling for them with an Alberta sweep. Can the Oilers handle their business tonight with a win at home?

Let’s go to the tape.

THE OILERS ARE SAYING

I’m workin’ on it.

Source

That’s Oilers Coach Tippett in response to a Jim Matheson question about Darnell Nurse’s minutes.

Tippett knows that Nurse has been getting a lot of minutes through his first two games, but to Tippett’s defence, he’s not wrong about it being a small sample size. Small sample size or otherwise, it’s a number that he’s aware of and he’d like for it to become more manageable.

Nurse played some extra shifts when Duncan Keith had to leave for a bit after getting blasted by Canucks defenceman Tyler Myers in the season opener. The game also went to OT, which helped rack up a few more minutes.

Darnell Nurse played 32:24 in the game against Vancouver. Nurse played 27:47 versus Calgary, a game that Duncan Keith did not get blasted in and did not go to overtime. Let’s watch and see if those numbers come down a little tonight. Will it be Slater Koekkoek (9:17 vs. CGY) or Duncan Keith (19:35 TOI vs. CGY) picking up the extra time?

THE DUCKS ARE SAYIING

It’s awesome. ‘Gibby’ had to make a lot of huge saves for us...He did a great job back there. When the time came, I think everyone on the bench knew we kind of step up for him and for each other, because we knew how bad we felt after last game (2-1 loss to Minnesota Wild on Friday). It feels real good to kind of get out of that one with a win. It’ll push us in the right direction moving forward on this trip and through the season

Source

That’s Ducks forward Jamie Drysdale on “Gibby”, Ducks goaltender John Gibson. GIbson turned aside 41 of 43 Calgary shots. Drysdale scored the game winner with just over 90 seconds left in the extra frame on a nice pass from Troy Terry.

LINES

HAVE SOME OF THIS

  • There’s a good chance that Devin Shore is back in the lineup for today’s game. Shore “tweaked” something last week in practice and has been out since Tuesday. He had a full practice yesterday and will likely take Ryan McLeod’s spot on the fourth line.
  • JUST ANOTHER DAY: Three goals for Connor McDavid against the Flames give him five points (3-2-5) in two games so far. Perfectly normal stuff, nothing to see here.
  • PULJU POWER: Jesse Puljujärvi has two goals in two games to start his season. He scored his second on a nice pass from Cody Ceci early on in the third period to lengthen Edmonton’s lead 4-2. Sign him long term right now.
  • THE BOUCH IS LOOSE: The Calgary game was the second game in a row that saw Bouchard taking the ice in place of Tyson Barrie for some shifts, and it’s Bouchard that’s being tapped to cool things down on the Nurse pair. Tippett knows it’s only a matter of time before Bouchard replaces Barrie on that pair. Until the goals against start coming, I don’t know that it’ll happen.
  • KEITH-CECI: I am still quite hesitant to say that this pair will stick for very long, but the results are in though two games. If you can stomach a breakaway against per game, this pair hasn’t been bad. They’re not getting crushed in their own end, and credit to Cody Ceci for jumping into the play hitting Puljujärvi en route to Jesse’s second goal of the year. Through two games, it hasn’t been too bad. Let’s hope it can hold.
  • SMALL SAMPLE SIZE: The Oilers have allowed 85 shots in two games. It’s a lot of shots. Only Detroit is allowing more shots per game (44.5) than the Oilers (42.5). This might not mean much in a few games, but the Oilers would do good by not allowing 38+ shots per game, especially when Mike Smith is playing really well for now.
  • NO QUACKING: The Ducks have trouble putting the puck in the net. They finished dead last in the league in goals per game last year (2.21), they’re banking on a mix of the youthful Trevor Zegras and the slightly more experienced 36 year old Ryan Getzlaf down the middle. Zegras is on the top line with Rickard Rakell and Adam Henrique, while Getzlaf is currently teamed up with Troy Terry and Max Comtois, who was Anaheim’s top point getter in 2021.
  • NET GAINS: Mike Smith’s (2-0-0) SV% is flying at .953 through two games. He’ll get the nod for the Oilers once again tonight. I’d expect Mikko Koskinen to get in either Thursday against the Coyotes or Friday against the Golden Knights. Former Oiler Anthony Stolarz is likely for the Ducks, as John Gibson turned aside 41 shots for the win last night.
  • SICK BAY: Ducks forward Mason McTavish left last night’s game in Calgary with a lower body injury.