After two full days between games, the Ducks and Oilers square off in a pivotal Game 4 tonight at Rogers Place (7 p.m. PT, NBCSN, 1090 AM). In desperate need of a win last Sunday, the Ducks' offense roared to life with a six-goal barrage in Game 3, including three in the first period, to cut the series deficit in half. Rickard Rakell set the tone just 25 seconds in by recording the fastest goal to start a playoff game in franchise history, while Jakob Silfverberg had a career-tying three-point performance (2g/1a) to snap the club's first two-game losing streak since mid-October.
Like they did two years ago in the Second Round against Calgary, the Ducks used the two days between games to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. They retreated to Banff in 2015 and responded with a Game 4 victory to put them up 3-1 in a series they eventually took in five games. This time, they flew an hour to Kelowna, British Columbia for some quiet time and relaxation. The Ducks held a full practice at Prospera Place yesterday, home of the Western Hockey League's Kelowna Rockets, before flying back to Edmonton later in the afternoon.
Will this getaway have the same effect that it did in 2015? "We'll find out," Getzlaf said to reporters yesterday. "It only matters if we win. Ultimately, these decisions are made long before we ever know what the series is going to be like."
It will be another hostile and raucous crowd inside Rogers Place tonight, and one of the keys for the Ducks, like in Game 3, will be to take the fans out of it early with a good start. Despite Edmonton's furious comeback - they erased a three-goal deficit with three unanswered goals - Chris Wagner's go-ahead goal 48 seconds after Connor McDavid's tying marker wasn't the back-breaker, according to Oilers head coach Todd McLellan. Instead, it was Rakell's goal that took the wind out of their sails.
"The biggest thing now is to go out and start the way we want to," Getzlaf said. "We have to find a way to get this thing back to even before we go home." The Ducks will return to Honda Center with a brand new series or face elimination in Game 5 on Friday.
If right wing Patrick Eaves doesn't play tonight, Corey Perry could fill his spot alongside Getzlaf and Rakell. Perry skated on the top line yesterday in place of Eaves, who suffered an apparent lower-body injury during Game 3. Eaves was seen in a walking boot later that night, but didn't have one on yesterday according to reports from Kelowna. Ondrej Kase, recalled prior to Game 3, could slot in on the third line if Perry replaces Eaves.
"We have players that can move up and down our lineup effectively," said Getzlaf. "Our lineups will have to adjust. If that's the adjustment we make, away we go."
For what it's worth, the Ducks enter tonight's game with a 17-9 all-time record in Game 4, marking the club's best win percentage (.654) of any game in a seven-game series. And with a 3-0 road record, only the 2003 Ducks (4-0) have started the playoffs with a better record away from Honda Center.