By Michael Walters
The Anaheim Ducks(27-14-9) host the Edmonton Oilers(26-15-8) before the All-Star Break. The Ducks have played the Oilers twice already winning once in regulation and losing the second game in overtime.
The Ducks grinded out a 3-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Monday. Anaheim got down 1-0 early, but then scored three straight goals and hung on in the third period to earn the win. Jakob Silfverberg missed another game and it appears he is dealing with concussion-like symptoms. John Gibson also did not play, even though he practiced and now appears okay despite leaving the game against the Minnesota Wild early with an upper-body injury. Nate Thompson has been assigned to the San Diego Gulls on a conditioning loan. He had been practicing with them for the past week.
Anaheim currently sits in second place, one point behind the San Jose Sharks. The Oilers are three points behind the Ducks. Rickard Rakell leads the team with 20 goals this season. Ryan Kesler has scored 18 goals. Jakob Silfverberg has 13 goals and Nick Ritchie has 11 goals.
Keys To The Game
Special teams were huge for the Ducks in the game against the Jets. The Ducks were 1 for 2 on the power play in that contest and have scored a power-play goal in their last four games in a row. The penalty kill came up big by killing off five Winnipeg power play and then also scoring a short-handed goal. The Ducks are going to the need the same type of effort against the Oilers tonight. Edmonton’s power play is 20.9% efficient, which just outside the top ten in the league. They do give up 30 shots against per game so the Ducks will look to pepper their goalie as much as possible.
Anaheim’s Projected Lineup
John Gibson 19-10-8, GAA 2.27, SV% .921 (Unconfirmed)
The Oilers have won five of their last six games, with their last being a 7-3 beat down of the Calgary Flames. Edmonton has been in the thick of things with Anaheim and San Jose battling for the top three spots in the Pacific Division. Surprisingly former Duck Patrick Maroon is the leading goal scorer with 18 goals on the season. He had a hat trick earlier in the month against Boston and also scored twice against Ottawa. Leon Draisaitl has 17 goals and rookie Connor McDavid has 16.
Keys To The Game
Offense has been the story for the Oilers lately. They have gone 5-0-1 in their last six games and are averaging 3.5 goals per game. Edmonton has also played decent on special teams with a 20.9% efficient power play and penalty kill of 81.4%. They will look to get on the forecheck to create opportunities and draw penalties. The Oilers weakness is in the face-off circle as they only win 47.5% of their draws.
Edmonton’s Projected Lineup (Per Dailyfaceoff.com)
Patrick Maroon – Connor McDavid – Leon Draisaitl
Benoit Pouliot – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Jordan Eberle
Milan Lucic – Drake Caggiula – Anton Slepyshev
Matt Hendricks – Mark Letestu – Zack Kassian
Cam Talbot 24-12-7, GAA 2.41, SV% .919 (Probable)
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January 25, 2017