The Edmonton Oilers are in Anaheim tonight to take on the Ducks in a rematch of last Thursday’s game. A game in which the Edmonton Oilers were victorious by a score of 6-0.
The Edmonton Oilers continue their tour of California today as they play the Anaheim Ducks. They will then play the San Jose Sharks Saturday. Tonight’s game is the second of a back-to-back as the Oilers beat the Los Angeles Kings 3-1 last night.
After the California swing the Oilers will face the Colorado Avalanche in Colorado, before finishing their season against the San Jose Sharks back at Rogers Place. Then after that, it will be time for playoffs. The Edmonton Oilers have already clinched a spot in the postseason, now all they need to determine is where they finish in the standings.
First the first time in a while the Edmonton Oilers got a bit of help last night as the Golden Knights lost to the Nashville Predators. The problem though was that it was an overtime loss, so the Oilers only gained one point.
At this point, there is still a chance the Edmonton Oilers still have a chance to win the division, but they will need help and require the Golden Knights to start losing some games. For second place in the Pacific, the Oilers control their fate they are ahead of the Kings and there are no games in hand.
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Jack Campbell Redemption Tour
With Stuart Skinner getting the start last night, Jack Campbell will be getting the start tonight. When these teams face each other on Saturday Campbell was able to get the shutout. Before that game, Campbell has struggled in his previous starts.
I like that Campbell may be starting to find his game again at this time of year. When it comes to goaltending and the playoffs you can never have enough good options. I still think that Skinner will be the starter in game one, but knowing you have a solid option behind him gives the team and fans some redundancy.
Edmonton Oilers Must Win This Game
The remainder of the schedule is filled with weaker teams except for one game on April 11th where they play the Colorado Avalanche, but with the way the Oilers are playing now, I don’t see them losing any more games.
If the Edmonton Oilers want home-ice advantage at all in the playoff they need to win the game tonight. The Anaheim Ducks are the worst team in the NHL. They may be tied point-wise for last, but their goal differential is much worse than any other team at -122.
In the 3 previous meetings between these 2 teams, the Edmonton Oilers have outscored the Ducks by a total of 16-5. That number would have been worse if it wasn’t for an amazing effort by Lukas Dostal and his 46 saves in the first game they played. Dostal willed his team to a 4-3 victory that night.
Oilers Defense Hitting Their Stride
The Edmonton Oilers are the much better team and should stroll out of Anaheim with the 2 points, but there is always the chance they run into a hot goalie as they did in December. Even if that is the case the Oilers defensive play has been excellent as of late.
In their last 5 games, they have allowed 9 goals. That is an average of 1.8 goals per game, which is 1.5 goals better than their season average which is 3.3 goals per game. That is a significant improvement.
I think the trade deadline acquisitions were a big part of this. Mattias Ekholm and Nick Bjugstad have improved this team in their end. Ekholm gives the Oilers a second defensive stud whereas Bjugstad is a big body who can win faceoffs and adds more bottom-six skill to this team.
Just like the last game against the Ducks, I expect the Edmonton Oilers to dominate this game. Get ready to celebrate Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scoring his 100th point of the season tonight. The way the Oilers powerplay is going he is guaranteed to get at least one point tonight.