Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017 7:00 PM PST
TV: PRIME, SNW
Radio: AM 830, AnaheimDucks.com
Your Enemy: Copper and Blue
It’s coming down to crunch time as three Eastern conference teams clinched playoff spots this week with less than a month remaining in the season.
While the Ducks find themselves in a contest of wills for Pacific division supremacy, they currently sit tied for 2nd (but losing out on differential) with the Oilers, with the still-hot Flames just one point back.
It is not only essential but conveniently strategic timing to be coming into form at this time of year which is what we hope the Ducks are currently doing. They are 6-2-1 in their last 9 games and appear to be over the game-to-game inconsistencies that have plagued them all season (knock on wood).
Recent statement games over Washington and San Jose are the type they need to continue emulating if they want to hit the playoffs with some real momentum.
Standing in their way tonight - the upstart Oilers who, let’s be honest, nobody really picked to be doing as well as they are this season. But somehow nobody is massively surprised either given they have the second coming of Wayne Gretzky.
Connor McDavid leads the team in goals, assists and points. His 82 points leads the team and the NHL; the Oilers 2nd leading scorer is Leon Draisaitl with 65. After that it’s Milan Lucic with 42. I’m no coaching genius but I’d hazard a guess that if you beat Connor, you beat the Oilers.
The Oilers were buyers at the deadline - loading up on some “grit” with David Desharnais and instantly turning their third line into one of the most annoying to play against. I would expect to see them try to match it against the Getzlaf-Rakell-Eaves line, while the Ryan Kesler line will be doing their best to keep McDavid in check.
Unfortunately due to the presence of Lucic we will most likely see Boll on the fourth line (just send Kase back down already if you aren’t going to play him, jeez) but hopefully because the Oilers are “speedy” we will see Montour back in.
Speaking of Montour - apparently he is awesome at lacrosse and played against Nick Ritchie and his brother in national tournaments. Also he is part Native American (now that Night Hawk nickname makes a bunch more sense @619sports).
Nine games left boys, lets get er done.