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game preview

PREVIEW: Oilers vs. Ducks

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 2:49 AM

Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com

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PREVIEW: Oilers vs. Ducks
Anaheim Ducks vs. Edmonton Oilers


INSIDE THE OILERS

 

Oilers practice Wednesday and Thursday with updates on injuries for Fasth, Yakupov and Gagner.

Tonight is Once an Oiler, Always an Oiler presented by FedEx as the Edmonton Oilers honour former Oiler Curtis Joseph. The first 7,500 fans into Rexall Place will receive a limited edition Curtis Joseph mini-stick courtesy of FedEx.

>> READ MORE IN THE INSIDE THE OILERS BLOG

 

AT MORNING SKATE

 

EDMONTON, AB - The Edmonton Oilers host one of the NHL’s best tonight when the Anaheim Ducks come to Rexall Place. For the Oilers, it’s a learning opportunity as they’ll head down a stretch of the schedule that contains quite a few playoff bound opponents. Edmonton is working towards finishing on a strong note and learning what it takes to get to the level of teams like the Ducks.

“I think it’s fun for us to see what it takes as a team, where we need to get to and those teams are really gearing up for playoffs at this time and we all know Anaheim will be in,” Oilers forward David Perron said. “But other teams are going to either try to knock them down a little bit or try and prevent them from being in there but it is what it is. I think it’s fun for us to see the level of play that we need to get to and if we get success then we can build on something.”

The Oilers are looking to use teams like the Ducks as a measuring stick to help provide a model for future success as an organization.

“They’re the best team in the league and they have a chance to win the Stanley Cup so it’s a good opportunity for us to show what we’ve got and build some confidence for the rest of the year and next year,” Oilers defenceman Justin Schultz said.

Including tonight’s game, the Oilers and Ducks will play each other three times in 10 days. Schultz says it’s important to set the tone tonight that they will not back down to their opponent.

“We want to let them know early that we’re not one of those easy teams that are just going to give them points and it’s going to be a challenge for them,” he said. “We’ve got to come out hard and establish our play for the next couple of games that we play them.”

YAKUPOV SKATING

Nail Yakupov took to the ice this morning after missing the previous four games due to an ankle injury.

“I feel pretty good actually,” the winger said. “It feels better and I did a couple of skates so I’ve got to get used to it, keep skating, keep working hard and be ready for a game.”

Despite the positive signs, there is not immediate timetable for Yakupov’s return and he will miss tonight’s game against the Ducks.

“I don’t know, we’ll see,” he said when asked when he’ll play again. “It’s all about my trainers and that’s all I can say.”

DEFENSIVE CHANGES

Anton Belov will return to the Oilers lineup tonight. The defenceman’s last game was on February 27. The return of Belov has also ushered in a changing of the guard with Edmonton’s top pairing as 20-year-old rookie Oscar Klefbom will move up the depth chart and be paired with Justin Schultz.

Klefbom has been playing on the right side, despite being better suited on the left, due to a necessity with injuries. Although Klefbom has performed well on the right, it’s time to move him to his strong side to get a better look at the former 19th overall pick in 2011.

“Number one, (Belov) has worked extremely hard to get ready and be ready and we want to reward that and get him back in so he’s feeling part of the group,” Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins said. “He’s got a history on the right side which helps us. But we’re going to put Oscar with (Schultz). It hasn’t been tough on Oscar, but I don’t love throwing a kid who hasn’t played 10 games yet over on his off side. But it was out of necessity. He did fine over there but we’re going to get him over on his strong side. You want to set those young guys up for success. So that will help him.”

Eakins also says the move is due to a trust in Schultz as the 23 year-old appears ready to help out another young defenceman.

“The second part of this is, and I said this to Justin Schultz this morning, you’ve come such a long way this year and you’ve come such a long way that we’re putting a very inexperienced defenceman with you because we know you can bring him along and I think it says volumes because the first 20 or 25 games I would have never, ever thought of doing that with Justin. He was learning lessons but Justin’s game has come along very nicely that I have no concerns about the pairings at all.”

-- Chris Wescott, edmontonoilers.com

 

NHL.COM PREVIEW

 

DUCKS (47-18-7) at OILERS (25-39-9)

TV: PRIME, SNET-W

Last 10: Anaheim 4-4-2; Edmonton 4-5-1

Season series: The Anaheim Ducks and Edmonton Oilers will play three times in the span of 10 days to conclude their five-game season series. The Ducks won the first two at Honda Center.

Big story: Not only do the Ducks have three games left against the Oilers, they enter Friday with three games in hand on the San Jose Sharks, whom they're trying to chase down for the Pacific Division title. A victory at Rexall Place will give each team 103 points and put the Ducks back in first place because they'll have games in hand. Edmonton, while out of the picture for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, can have a say in whether Anaheim finishes first.

Team Scope:

Ducks: The next win for Anaheim will tie the franchise record for a single season set in 2006-07, when the Ducks won the Stanley Cup. They've finished with 47 wins in two other seasons ('07-08, '10-11), but each of those ended with a first-round postseason ouster.

The Ducks held an optional practice Thursday in which many of their top players elected to rest. That included forward Teemu Selanne, who coach Bruce Boudreau said will play Friday, meaning he's likely to get the night off Saturday when the Ducks visit the Vancouver Canucks.

Forward Andrew Cogliano, who scored the decisive goal in a 3-2 victory against the Calgary Flames on Wednesday, understands the importance of this current stretch for Anaheim.

"We have to keep winning. San Jose has done a good job of staying ahead and winning games. It’s our turn now to keep responding and moving forward," Cogliano said.

Oilers: Goaltender Viktor Fasth, acquired from Anaheim at the NHL Trade Deadline, is not quite ready to return from a neck injury but is hopeful of facing his former team in one of the April games. Defenseman Anton Belov, who has played in one game since Jan. 29, is recovered from an abdominal injury and ready to go.

There was concern about forward Sam Gagner, who missed practice the past two days as he battles a sore ankle. Gagner said he was "just taking care of some things" and anticipated being in the lineup. His coach backed that assessment.

"Remember he hurt his ankle there, that twisted ankle has been flaring up on him," coach Dallas Eakins said. "He's been sucking it up and playing, so we're just trying to give him as much time away from the games to heal. I'm sure he'll just suck it up again [Friday] and play."

Edmonton has been outscored 16-4 in losing its past three games after a 5-2-2 start to March. Two dates remain on the Oilers' six-game homestand.

Who's hot: Ducks forward Mathieu Perreault has four goals and two assists during a six-game point streak. … Oilers forward Taylor Hall has three goals in his past four games.

Injury report: Anaheim defenseman Cam Fowler (knee) could be out until the start of the playoffs. … Fasth (neck) is day-to-day for Edmonton. Forwards Nail Yakupov (ankle) and Jesse Joensuu (ankle) are out.

-- Brian Hunter, NHL.com
2013-2014 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Apr 06 '14 ANA 2 at EDM 4 J. Schultz
Apr 02 '14 EDM 2 at ANA 3 F. Beauchemin
Mar 28 '14 ANA 3 at EDM 4 - OT A. Ference
Jan 03 '14 EDM 2 at ANA 5 B. Lovejoy
Dec 15 '13 EDM 2 at ANA 3 D. Penner
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
R. Getzlaf69305080+282447
C. Perry73373572+306379
N. Bonino68192746+91671
M. Perreault60172138+142831
A. Cogliano73211536+142205
C. Fowler6763036+151442
D. Penner49131932+222852
K. Palmieri62121628+83404
H. Lindholm7052126+273411
T. Selanne5891625+71243
S. Koivu5891625+34201
D. Winnik6842024+02301
P. Maroon5381422+88912
J. Silfverberg4481220+41011
S. Vatanen4461218+52220
M. Beleskey4751318+23801
B. Lovejoy7051116+202902
F. Beauchemin6231114+233510
E. Etem297411+3412
B. Allen60099+197100
S. Robidas29448+81610
D. Smith-Pelly16178+5200
T. Jackman35415-210100
M. Fistric34145+92800
L. Sbisa24044-43900
A. Grant2202+3200
P. Holland4101-1200
R. Rakell12011-3200
N. Yonkman2011-1000
D. Steckel6000+0000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
J. Hiller4829-11-711313042.41.913
F. Andersen2316-5-0496452.26.924
V. Fasth52-2-1151312.95.885
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
T. Hall67254368-154051
J. Eberle72243256-131864
D. Perron70262854-117272
R. Nugent-Hopkins72163349-162064
S. Gagner6092534-253311
J. Schultz6692029-191412
A. Hemsky5591726-132021
N. Yakupov63111324-333641
R. Smyth64101323-143851
B. Gordon6881321-111611
M. Arcobello4141418-7811
A. Ference7131518-186301
J. Petry7261016-173810
P. Larsen22268-3800
M. Hendricks69527-710501
R. Jones52246+04001
A. Belov49156-133200
J. Joensuu42325-161611
C. Potter16055+02100
L. Gazdic66224-812500
N. Schultz60044-112400
M. Marincin36044+31400
W. Acton23213-11400
T. Fedun4202-1000
M. Fraser34112-145800
L. Smid17112-61600
O. Klefbom9112-5000
T. Pitlick7101-2000
A. Lander19011-3200
B. Eager7011+1200
D. Grebeshkov7011+0200
M. Brown8000+11900
B. Hunt3000-3000
R. Horak2000-1000
R. Hamilton2000-2000
L. Omark1000-1000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
B. Scrivens3514-13-47610392.39.927
D. Dubnyk3211-17-2948853.36.894
I. Bryzgalov205-8-5576223.01.908
V. Fasth94-3-2252302.87.891
J. LaBarbera71-3-0191463.28.870
R. Bachman30-2-17833.02.916