The preseason hockey schedule generally isn't without its quirks or logistical challenges. Teams often face back-to-backs or split-squad games in the bustling two-week span that leads into the regular season, and the Ducks certainly aren't exempt. Although they didn't have any split-squad contests this time around, this particular back-to-back is an interesting one.
Today, the Ducks will embark on the estimated three-hour flight to Alberta's capital and play later tonight (6 p.m. PT) at Rogers Place - the new $480-million home of the Oilers that opened on September 8. Following the game, the team will stay overnight in Edmonton before departing for San Jose early tomorrow morning. Later that night, they'll take on the Sharks at SAP Center before returning home in the midnight hours.
Not all players will be taking the flight up to Edmonton. Some will fly separately tomorrow to join the team in San Jose, according to head coach Randy Carlyle. Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry could be among the players Carlyle is referring to, since he said the duo will likely play in two of the three remaining games on the preseason schedule. Ryan Kesler is also expected to play in at least one of the three remaining preseason games.
Rogers Place, of course, replaces Northlands Coliseum (formerly known as Rexall Place), the historic home of the Oilers from 1974-2016. Situated in downtown Edmonton, Rogers Place features over 1,200 televisions and the largest true high-definition center-hung scoreboard in the NHL. This season, the Ducks will make two trips to Edmonton: December 3 and April 1.
The Ducks didn't partake in a pregame skate this morning, so line rushes won't immediately be available. But it's safe to say tonight's lineup will again be heavy on prospects. Forwards Nick Ritchie, Michael Sgarbossa and Nick Sorensen have all appeared in three of the four preseason games up to this point. The same applies to defensemen Jacob Larsson, Brandon Montour and Shea Theodore. All six players are looking to make lasting impressions as the roster continues to shrink down with opening night quickly approaching.
You can expect John Gibson to start tonight. Last week, Carlyle said the plan moving forward was to roll with Gibson and Jonathan Bernier the rest of the way, and on Saturday the duo split time in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Arizona Coyotes. Bernier went the distance in Sunday's game against the LA Kings.
Reports from Edmonton's morning skate suggest left wing Pat Maroon will face his former club tonight on a line with Leon Draisaitl and Nail Yakupov. The Ducks will also get their first glimpse at Jesse Puljujärvi, the fourth overall selection of the 2016 NHL Draft. Cam Talbot is expected to get the start in net.