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Preview: Ducks, Oilers Square Off in Winner-Take-All Game 7

by Kyle Shohara @kyleshohara /

For the fifth consecutive year, there will be a Game 7 at Honda Center.

This time, the Ducks play host to the Edmonton Oilers in a do-or-die series finale that will see the winner welcome the Nashville Predators to town in the Western Conference Final. The Ducks, who erased a 0-2 series deficit with three consecutive wins, couldn't finish off the Oilers in Game 6 on Sunday at Rogers Place, but will look to rewrite the haunting script that has played out over the last four years.

Whichever team scores first tonight has a strong chance of winning the game, and the all-time stats back that up. According to the NHL, the team that scores first in Game 7 is 124-42 all-time (.747), including a 5-0 mark in 2016. And, for what it's worth, home teams are 97-69 (.584) all-time in Game 7s in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, including a 3-2 mark in 2016.

The Ducks are coming off their worst performance by far of the playoffs, a 7-1 blowout loss in a game that got out of hand before the first period even ended. By the time the dust settled, the Oilers had a 5-0 lead going into the first intermission. They did it all without two of their top-four defensemen in the lineup - Oscar Klefbom and Andrej Sekera. Leon Draisaitl had a hat trick and finished with five points, and enters tonight's game with 13 points (5g/8a) in the series. Connor McDavid was held off the scoresheet for the first time since Game 2 of the series.

"We've had rough stretches throughout the year that we've been able to bounce back from," said Jakob Silfverberg. "We've had some tough breaks in the playoffs that we learned a lot from. This is an experienced group that has been through a lot. It's going to be a tough game mentally and physically, but I think we have the experience to handle it."

Nate Thompson (maintenance day) and Ondrej Kase (lower body) could be options tonight, according to head coach Randy Carlyle. Thompson didn't practice yesterday, and the Ducks recalled center Sam Carrick from San Diego to fill his spot on the fourth line. Kase skated, but hasn't played since Game 4. Kevin Bieksa (lower body) is progressing "rapidly," according to Carlyle, so we'll see if the morning skate provides any additional updates.

Ryan Getzlaf (3 points, all assists) and Corey Perry (4 points, 3g/1a) have played in six Game 7s apiece, second on the Ducks behind Patrick Eaves, who has been a part of seven Game 7s.

Milan Lucic has played in the most Game 7s among all players on either side, appearing in 10 such contests (all with Boston). Lucic has six points (4g/2a) in those games.

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