Tonight the McDavid-less Oilers will take on the drowning Ducks. McDavid will be serving the first of his two game suspension for his hit to the head of Nick Leddy in the Oilers last game verses the Islanders, that McDavid finished off in overtime to win the game 4-3. If you want to see my thoughts on the suspension I wrote an article here https://rigcitysports.com/2019/02/22/mcdavid-2-game-suspension/ .
The Oilers are currently 8 points back of the final playoff spot, there is also six teams the Oilers need to leap frog over in order to grab the second wildcard spot, the odds are not in their favour. They do have 2 games in hand over current wildcard holder Minnesota, meaning if the Oilers were to win those and Minnesota lose those, they would only be 4 points back. That’s not considering wins from any of the other five teams ahead of Edmonton. It’s a difficult climb.
One of those teams ahead of the Oilers is the Anaheim Ducks, tonights opponent. A win tonight will put the Oilers 1 point ahead of the Ducks with a game in hand. Though the Oilers do not have McDavid in the lineup the Ducks lineup on paper doesn’t look awful but they have played just as bad or worse than the Oilers over the past two months. It’s a battle of two very bad teams tonight in the turtle race to the playoffs. It looks like Kevin Boyle will be in goal for the Ducks, which is good news for the Oilers. Boyle will be playing in his 4th career NHL game. The Oilers should look to take advantage of that and pepper him with shots early, try to rattle him early.
Lineups (@DailyFaceoff on twitter)
Lucic – Draisaitl – Kassian
Rattie – RNH – Gagner
Rieder – Cave – Chiasson
Malone – Brodziak – Currie
Klefbom – Larsson
Nurse – Russell
Sekera – Benning
As of writing this the lineups have not been officially announced, this is based off the Oilers last game without McDavid. I’d Suspect Gagner makes his way to the first line at some point in the night
Ritchie – Rakell – Perry
Jones – Henrique – Terry
Shore – Grant – Silfverberg
Gibbons – Kesler – Rowney
Lindholm – Manson
Fowler – Del Zotto
Megna – Montour
Getzlaf is out day to day with an upper body injury. He was a late scratch last night against Calgary, I wouldn’t rule out a Getzlaf return tonight. As of writing this it has not been announced yet. This will be the first game this season that Perry lines up against the Oilers, he was out with injury in the previous meetings.
Offence will once again be laid at the hands of Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, they both delivered last time McDavid was out of the lineup, we will see if they can do it again and maybe they can find some depth scoring from somewhere. Colby Cave has looked strong the last couple games and had his first point with the Oilers last game. Does Cave get his first goal with the Oilers tonight?