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Preview: Ducks Host Oilers in Pivotal Divisional Game

by Kyle Shohara @kyleshohara /

The Ducks (38-23-11, 87 points) open their second-to-last homestand of the 2016-17 regular season tonight vs. the Edmonton Oilers (39-24-9, 87 points) at Honda Center (7 p.m. PT, Prime Ticket/AM 830). The Ducks own a 5-1-1 record in their last seven games and a 6-2-1 mark dating to the end of their bye week on March 3. The club currently ranks tied for third in the league in PK% (85.0%) and fourth in fewest goals allowed (175) and goals against per game (2.43). The current home stretch also features visits by Winnipeg Jets on Friday (7 p.m. PT) and New York Rangers on Sunday (6 p.m. PT).

Tonight's contest marks the fourth of five meetings between these two clubs, and the final head-to-head matchup in Anaheim. The Ducks are 1-1-1 against the Oilers in 2016-17, including a 4-1 win on November 15 at Honda Center, a 3-2 overtime loss on December 3 at Rogers Place and a 4-0 setback on January 25 in Anaheim. Since the start of the 2009-10 season, the Ducks have gone 25-4-3 vs. the Oilers with points six of the last seven games (5-1-1). Anaheim is 54-36-9 all-time vs. Edmonton and has posted a 28-17-4 record at Honda Center (9-2-1 in the last 12 home games). Ryan Getzlaf leads Anaheim skaters in career scoring vs. the Oilers with 43 points (16g/27a) in 42 games. The 2016-17 season set will conclude in Edmonton next Saturday (7 p.m. PT).

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The out-of-town scoreboard last night was favorable for both clubs in two ways. First, the Calgary Flames lost in regulation to the Washington Capitals, keeping them in the first wild card slot a point behind the second-place Oilers and third-place Ducks. Then, the San Jose Sharks dropped their fourth consecutive game last night in Minnesota, preventing them from increasing their four-point lead atop the Pacific Division. Therefore, the winner of tonight's game will find themselves just two points back of the Sharks and three points ahead of the Flames with nine games remaining. Winning the division ensures home ice through at least the first two rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Oilers come to town riding a four-game winning streak and finished their season-high eight-game homestand with a 5-2-1 record. Cam Talbot recorded his second consecutive shutout in the club's 2-0 victory over the LA Kings on Monday night, while Connor McDavid earned assists on both goals. Leon Draisaitl has four goals in three games this season against the Ducks, including a two-goal performance on January 25 and the overtime winner on December 3. Draisaitl has set career highs in goals (24), assists (41) and points (65) this season.

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