The Edmonton Oilers kick off their annual Mother’s Trip tonight in Anaheim as they battle the Ducks in the first of four meetings between the rivals this season. It will also be the first time that the Oilers see former head coach Dallas Eakins since firing him in December, 2014. Ah, the memories.
The Oilers are coming off of a strong 4-0 shutout victory over the New Jersey Devils on Friday night. Alex Chiasson scored his first goal of the season, while Gaetan Haas scored his second goal in three games. This kicks off a two-game road trip for the Oilers, who will be in San Jose on Tuesday.
Mikko Koskinen starts for the Oilers, while John Gibson gets the nod for the Ducks.
Keys To The Game:
Edmonton: Throw everything on net. The Oilers have a tendency to overpass and wait for the pretty chance. Against a Ducks team that has the best goaltending in the division, you cannot afford to be picky. Fire everything on John Gibson and get some traffic in front of him.
Anaheim: Play physical. The Oilers don’t respond overly well when they are challenged physically. The Ducks have a number of players with the ability to get under the opponent’s skin. That usually throws the Oil off their game. If the Ducks can do that, they should be in good shape.
Players To Watch:
Edmonton: Leon Draisaitl scored the game winner on Friday and is riding an eight-game point streak. He’s also had some insanely strong performances against the Ducks during his career. This is an important game tonight for the Oilers, and I expect Draisaitl to have a major impact in a matchup he’s enjoyed quite a bit.
Anaheim: Jakub Silfverberg has emerged as the offensive leader for the rebuilding Ducks. He’s got seven goals and 13 points in 17 games for the Ducks this season, and combines a skilled game with size and a little power forward ability. He’s a load to matchup against and should have an impact on this game.
Joakim Nygard is close, but not ready to play tonight for the Oilers. The lines will remain the same from Friday as a result. Sam Gagner and Nygard sit up front, while Brandon Manning is scratched on defense.
Edmonton Oilers Lines:
Leon Draisaitl – Connor McDavid – Zack Kassian
James Neal – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Alex Chiasson
Jujhar Khaira – Riley Sheahan – Josh Archibald
Markus Granlund – Gaetan Haas – Patrick Russell
Darnell Nurse – Ethan Bear
Oscar Klefbom – Joel Persson
Kris Russell – Matt Benning
These Ducks look vastly different than those hated rivals of years prior. Ryan Kesler and Patrick Eaves are both on IR and not expected to play this season. Corey Perry was bought out in June, while numerous players from AHL San Diego were recalled to kick start a rebuild of sorts under Dallas Eakins.
Anaheim Ducks Lines:
Maxime Comtois – Ryan Getzlaf – Ondrej Kase
Rickard Rakell – Adam Henrique – Jakob Silfverberg
Max Jones – Sam Steel – Troy Terry
Nick Ritchie – Derek Grant – Carter Rowney
Josh Mahura – Cam Fowler
Hampus Lindholm – Erik Gudbranson
Jacob Larsson – Michael Del Zotto
The Oilers and Ducks will meet four times this season, with tonight being the first meeting. The sides will meet again on February 25th in Anaheim before playing twice in March at Rogers Place. They’ll meet on the 23rd and 29th of March in Edmonton.
Leon Draisaitl is smoking. The German forward is currently on an eight-game scoring streak, his second such streak this season. He has 14 points in that span, scoring eight goals and adding six helpers. Connor McDavid, thanks to an assist on Friday, now sits at 399 career points.
The Oilers penalty kill was terrific on Friday night. They get another favorable matchup this evening. The Ducks are just 4-for-42 on the powerplay this season, converting just 9.5% of opportunities. That ranks 30th in the NHL. The Oilers, meanwhile, have the fifth best powerplay in the league. They’ve converted on 27.5% of their powerplays.