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AT THE MORNING SKATE:
The Oilers held an optional skate at Honda Center Wednesday morning, but most players opted to take to the ice. Among those who didn't were Tom Gilbert, Jean-Francois Jacques, Lubomir Visnovsky, Steve Staios, Dustin Penner & Marc Pouliot.
Although he missed Tuesday's practice due to a late arrival from the east coast, Devan Dubnyk was in one of the practice nets to help his squad prepare for the game. Jeff Deslauriers will get the start tonight vs. the Ducks, while Dubnyk is expected to play Thursday night in Los Angeles.
HOW TO DROWN DUCKS
The Ducks have won their past 10 games played at The Pond, and although the home team will be missing forward Ryan Getzlaf, the Oilers are prepared to face a formidable foe.
"They want desperately to get themselves back into the playoffs and be effective when they get there, so as much as [Getzlaf] might not be in the line-up, for us anyway we know we're going to have our hands full," Associate Coach Tom Renney said after the skate.
"They're playing really well," captain Ethan Moreau added. "We just watched some video on them so we'll be ready."
According to Renney, that readiness centres on a simple game plan: "Battle earlier, harder, and longer."
"It's about puck management for us," the coach explained. "We try to make so much out of little plays that don't get you a whole lot. It's sort of a risk/reward game for us right now and we've got to play more low-risk hockey but also elevate the battle level so that the other team knows we're in it."
Dustin Penner said it's important to forget about the past, including the club's 10 straight road losses, heading into the game.
"You've just got to break it down to the simplest form and that's that each game is just a one-game season," Penner said. "You've got to forget about the games before and the games that are coming up next, even if we're playing the next night in L.A like we are here. Just focus on tonight and what we can do and what we think can make the game successful for us and resulting in a victory."
Like in Monday night's game in Phoenix, Penner is expected to play with Ryan Potulny and Robert Nilsson tonight.
"I thought as a line we moved the puck well, we got in on the forecheck, we got a lot of shots on net just not a lot to show for it. Shots don't add up to goals unless they go in, so we've got to work on that part of it."
The former Duck is looking forward to more success with his linemates and a win tonight against his former team.
"It's always nice to come back here and play against guys that I won a Cup with," Penner said. "We have a good bond by winning it and it's just fun to get on the ice and play against them and test your skill against them. The banter that goes back and forth is always pretty funny."
OILERS (18-34-6) at DUCKS (28-24-7)
Last 10: Edmonton 2-7-1; Anaheim 6-4-0.
Season Series: This is the first of four meetings between the teams. They will meet again on Sunday at Edmonton in the final game before the Olympic break.
Big Story: Anaheim tied a franchise record on Monday night with its 10 consecutive home victory, a 4-2 decision against the Los Angeles Kings at the Honda Center. The Kings had won their previous nine games.
"When you're at home, you need to go out and make the place a war zone out there," said forward Corey Perry, who had a goal and two assists. "It should be hard place for the other team to come in and play."
Oilers: After finding a way to notch back-to-back victories, Edmonton is once again in the midst of a losing streak. The Oilers suffered their third straight defeat on Monday as they were pummeled by the Phoenix Coyotes, 6-1, at Jobing.com Arena. Wednesday marks the fourth of a five-game road trip that concludes on Thursday at Los Angeles.
"For the first five minutes, again, we're not bad," Edmonton coach Pat Quinn, "and then (Robert) Nilsson turns it over at least five times in our zone of attack."
Ducks: Not since 2008 has Anaheim played this well on home ice. It was from Feb. 17-March 26, 2008, when the Ducks reeled off 10 straight victories in Orange County. But they matched the feat on Monday night with their impressive win against the Kings.
"We had a lot of energy," said goalie Jonas Hiller, who made 35 saves. "Those three days without a game were definitely good for us. We tried to put pressure on them and not let them get in the game."
Who's Hot: Perry has six points (2 goals, 4 assists) in his last three games, while Ducks defenseman Ryan Whitney has a three-game points streak.
Injury Report: For the Oilers, goalie Nikolai Khabibulin (back) and forward Ales Hemsky (shoulder) are out for the season. Ryan Stone (knee) is out indefinitely, while Steve Staios and Ladislav Smid (concussion) are day-to-day. Sheldon Souray (hand) is expected to return sometime next month. … Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf suffered a sprained ankle on Monday night but is hoping to make a quick recovery. Joffrey Lupul (back) is out indefinitely.
Stat Pack: Edmonton has won only three times in its last 26 games and has been outscored 13-3 thus far on the road trip. … The Ducks have picked up points at home in 11 straight (10-0-1), 15 of the last 16 (13-1-2) and 18 of 20 (16-2-2).
Puck Drop: "It's definitely hopeful. We're far from ruling it out, that is for sure. I had a talk with Steve Yzerman already. He made it pretty clear that they were going to do everything they can to wait and make sure that it is well. At the same time, he has to protect his team, too." -- Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf on playing in the Olympics.