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GAME PREVIEW: Edmonton Oilers vs. Anaheim Ducks

Woodcroft’s Oilers look for their fourth win in a row

Anaheim Ducks v Detroit Red Wings Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images

Edmonton Oilers (25-18-3), 3rd, Pacific)

Anaheim Ducks (23-18-9), 5th, Pacific)

17 February 2022

Rogers Place

7 0PM MT

TV: Sportsnet 360, Sportsnet West

Radio: 630 CHED

THREE FOR THREE

The Oilers are a perfect three-for-three since Jay Woodcroft took over coaching duties, and they’ll look to make it four as the Ducks fly into Rogers for their game tonight. Mike Smith turned aside 30 of 32 shots from LA, while the Oilers got five goals from five different players. It was Kailer Yamamoto who scored the eventual game winner in the third period, it was part of a four-goal Oiler third. Edmonton’s last two goals were empty netters, but hats off to the club for winning back-to-back games on the road.

The Oilers look to keep the good times going tonight against a Ducks club that got drubbed in a 6-2 loss to the Flames last night. Can they make it four in a row?

Let’s go to the tape.

THE OILERS ARE SAYING

“We’ve asked everybody to up the work rate...We’re asking the team to play a certain style, a demanding style, and very happy that the team is seeing results.”

Source

That’s Oilers interim head coach Jay Woodcroft after his club’s 5-2 win over the Kings on Tuesday.

Every club has a jolt of energy when a coaching change is made, but early results with Jay Woodcroft have me optimistic about the remainder of the season. Early indicators look like Woodcroft knows strengths and weaknesses of his club; he’s not afraid to go 11 forwards / 7 defencemen, he’s spreading out the ice time in order to keep players fresh. The right guys are playing more, while he’s not afraid to shorten the bench when needed. It’s looking good for now. Let’s see some more.

THE DUCKS ARE SAYING

“I’m big on odds and percentages...The chances that we were going to come back were low, so I’d rather have [Gibson] rested and ready for [Thursday].”

Source

That’s Anaheim head coach Dallas Eakins after his club’s 6-2 loss to the Flames last night.

Gibson yielded four in last night’s loss to the Flames before getting pulled, and Eakins is betting on a return to form tonight. Gibson’s last win dates back to January 29th, a one goal outing against the Senators.

HAVE SOME OF THIS

  • It’s early, but I’m on the Woodcroft train. Everything I’ve seen so far suggests that Woodcroft is paying attention to the little details. Back-to-backs? Let’s spread out the ice time among defencemen. Maybe he goes 11/7 instead of 12/6 in order to spread those minutes out. Shorten your bench when needed. Spread out the starts among your goaltenders. It’s refreshing to see a coach that pays attention.
  • Devin Shore played for the first time in three games in Tuesday’s 5-2 win over the Kings. Limited to just 2:57 in total ice, I would not be shocked to see him waived in the not-too-distant future.
  • Mikko Koskinen is back from Covid protocols. With Smith in net for Edmonton’s 5-2 win over the Kings on Tuesday (and Skinner returning on loan to Bakersfield), I’d expect to see Koskinen make the start tonight. (I’ve got Smith on Saturday in Winnipeg, and Koskinen back home against Minnesota on Sunday) Eakins has alluded to Gibson getting back in for Anaheim, so it’s looking like Koskinen - Gibson from my view.
  • Trevor Zegras is worth the price of admission. He’s second on the Ducks in points (33), and he’s a threat with the puck in every scenario possible. Yes, he’s scored some gorgeous goals, but his creativity goes to 11.
  • As impressive as Zegras has been, Troy Terry has been equally if not more impressive. The 23 year old Terry has emerged as Anaheim’s top point getter so far this season (42 in 45), he’s tied for 7th in the league with 25 goals. Not too bad for a guy that finished with 18 points all of last season. Zegras and Terry are on separate lines, the Oilers could have their hands full on defence.
  • Calgary is making it tough for the Oilers to keep pace, but another win for Edmonton tonight would bring them to within two point of Vegas for second place (with a game in hand). Can the Oilers make it four in a row with a win tonight?