The youthful Edmonton Oilers pay a visit to the Honda Center tonight as the Ducks need a win to keep the playoff hopes alive. This is the second of four meetings between the Ducks and the Oilers this year, they play each other twice in the first week of April. The Ducks dominated the Oilers in the first matchup, a Jonas Hiller shutout, 5-0. Here are some things to look forward too tonight:
1. Last push for the Playoffs:
The Ducks are in 12th place in the West and are 7 points out of the playoffs with 16 games left in the season. The only other Western Conference team to play tonight besides the Ducks and Oilers that play tonight are the Phoenix Coyotes who are in Pittsburgh tonight. After the very good road trip, the Ducks have been inconsistent while the teams just ahead of them in the West have been consistently getting points. With a 2-3 record in their last 5, the team has cooled off and fallen to 7 points out. As I was watching the Ducks-Kings game online, unfortunately the Kings broadcast, they showed each team’s percent chance of making the playoffs and the Ducks chances were 2.2%. Now I’m not sure how accurate that was, but we already know the chances are slim.
The last time these two teams met, the Ducks won 5-0 in Rexall Place. The Oilers are 2nd to last in the West, but the team’s definitely got talent. So, this team will definitely put up a fight to get some revenge for that 5-0 drubbing in Edmonton back in January.
3. Taylor Hall is playing pretty well:
Among all the young studs on this Edmonton, Taylor Hall is playing like the cream of the crop right now. Even though Edmonton’s lost three of its last four, Hall been putting up consistent points lately. More specifically, he has 7 points in his last 6 games. However, don’t forget about Jordan Eberle, Sam Gagner and rookie Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
4. Jonas Hiller needs to keep playing strong:
Hiller has been the rock that the Ducks have rallied around during their second half surge. He has started the last 25 games and has given up 2 goals or more just six times in that stretch. However, he has allowed 3 or more three times in the last four games.
5. Oilers PP vs. Ducks PK:
The Oilers boast the league’s top power play unit at 21.7%. That important against the Ducks who have taken the second most penalties in the entire league. The Ducks penalty kill however, has been pretty consistent for them all season long. They’re currently 12th in the league in PK at 82.5%. If the Ducks want to keep their playoff hopes alive, they need to take less penalties, especially tonight against the Oilers.
The Ducks need to continue their dominance of the Edmonton Oilers tonight. The Ducks have won 9 of the last 10 meetings. But the Ducks are also 10-2-1 in their last 13 home games. So, things look like the Ducks should win this one tonight. However, nothings a guarantee, especially late in the season like this. The bottom line is, the Ducks need to win tonight, if not they could almost kiss the playoffs good bye.
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