Friday, February 9th, 7PM PST
Honda Center, Anaheim, CA
TV: PRIME, SNW
Radio: AM 830
Your enemy: The Copper & Blue
The Anaheim Ducks have returned home from their lengthy road trip through the Northeast/Canada and will host the Edmonton Oilers in a Pacific Division showdown on Friday night. The Ducks could desperately use the two points and the Oilers appear to be just a bit too far out of the race to make up the ground they would need, but I’d be willing to bet that they’ll be playing their hardest to prove that statement wrong.
The Oilers are coming off a 5-2 loss at the hands of the Los Angeles Kings, meaning that by law, they are now required to lose to the Anaheim Ducks. Plain and simple, you’re not allowed to lose to the Kings and then beat the Ducks. I won’t stand for it.
The Ducks are coming off a 4-3 OT win against the Buffalo Sabres that ended their not-so-good road trip on a positive note. The team very much needed the win and it was encouraging to see the team battle back for the two points after seeing the lead slip away with 14.5 seconds remaining in regulation time.
Despite the fact that Edmonton appears to be out of the playoff race in the Western Conference at this point, this is a massive game for the Anaheim Ducks, and they need to find a way to get it done on home ice against a Pacific Division opponent. Losing games against the Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens means that you have to win the tougher games if you want to be in the postseason, and this is just the opportunity the Ducks need to take advantage of.
All Eyes On Me
The player that I will be focusing on for this game against the Edmonton Oilers is Corey Perry. Perry has been struggling offensively recently, and it has resulted in Randy Carlyle moving him down to fourth-line duties. However, he “scored” a goal against the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night (Ryan O’Reilly took the shot), but sometimes, that’s all it takes to ignite a spark. Seeing Corey find his scoring touch would be a huge positive boost for Anaheim, and I’ll be looking for him to push the Ducks offensively against Edmonton.
Keys to the Game
Special Teams - As per usual, special teams will be a huge factor in an important game for Anaheim. To summarize quickly, try not to give up any shorthanded goals and try not to take 5+ penalties. Should be easy enough, right?
Goaltending - Ryan Miller showed signs of mortality on the road trip after John Gibson left the very first game of the road trip with an injury, never to appear again on those five games. However, Gibson has been practicing with the team on the ice and appears to be nearing a return. Whether it’s Gibson or Miller, the Ducks need a solid performance, because the Oilers still have a guy named Connor McDavid, and he’s still really good.
Just Win - I don’t care what it takes, get the two points. Simple as that.