My title is likely tempting magumbo, but the Ducks have the chance to sweep their season series against the Oilers tonight. Ryan Getzlaf has three points in the two previous Ducks-Oilers matchups, and Frederik Andersen is 2-0-0 with a 1.50 GAA. Furthermore, the Oilers have dropped five straight games against Anaheim. Their last win against the Ducks occurred on April 1 (gulp), 2012.
It is also worth noting that the Ducks have the potential to win the
Early Playoff Exit Presidents' Trophy. After momentarily ceding the NHL points lead, they are once again atop the heap with an impressive 105 points. (105 points will not heal the pain of an early playoff exit, but I will take my victories when I can get them, okay?). More importantly the Ducks can clinch their third consecutive division title with just a point tonight. Then again, we've known that the Ducks would finish first in the division for a while now and another division banner won't soothe a potential early playoff exit any more than a Presidents' Trophy will.
As always, it will be interesting to see who starts in net tonight. Both John Gibson and Frederik Andersen have impressed in recent games (Freddy was a rock in Saturday's matinee against the New York Islanders, and Gibson shone against the Devils on Sunday). As noted above, Freddy has a good history against the Oilers, but we all know that doesn't really mean anything to Bruce Boudreau.
However, things might get interesting: Even though Edmonton has been out of the playoff picture for months, they are on a roll as of late, and have the potential to win their fourth consecutive game for the first time since October. Before this past Monday, the Oilers were 0-3-2 in their previous five games, but strong performances from several Oilers have allowed the club to enjoy a mini-turnaround of sorts. Goalie Richard Bachman has only allowed one goal in his past six starts, Benoit Pouliot has four points in three games, and Andrew Miller has a goal and six points (!!!) in his past three games. (Fun fact: I took a Statistics class with Andrew in undergrad, and we were in the same study group. He was good at scoring assists then, and was the captain of the Yale team that won the 2013 NCAA Hockey Championship).
What Can We Learn From This Game:
The Bruce Boudreau Line Generating Blender is still churning, and BB is still looking for a gritty left-winger (or really, any left-winger) who can complement the Twins on the top line. Jiri Sekac played with the Twins in the last two games to little avail, so hopefully we won't see that again.
I would follow this up by saying that tonight's line and D pairings might give us an idea of what this team might look like in the playoffs, but we all know that isn't true. Still, I have questions: Will Bruce let #RickyEtemCakes? Will we see Matt Beleskey or Patrick Maroon at left wing tonight? Where does Chris Wagner fit in the lineup? And will Francois Beauchemin continue to log ridiculous minutes?
Frederik Andersen will start in goal! (It is unfortunate that this has to be a 'fearless prediction,' but such are the times that we live in).