The Ducks (22-7-5, 49 points) close out a three-game homestand against the Edmonton Oilers (11-20-3, 25 points) tonight at Honda Center (5 p.m. PT, Prime Ticket, AM 830).
It’s been a successful homestand thus far for the Ducks, who have won the first two against the New York Islanders and Minnesota Wild, respectively. After tonight, the Ducks will embark on a pre-Christmas four-game road trip to Detroit, New Jersey, New York (Islanders) and Washington.
Currently sitting in second place in the league with 49 points (two behind Chicago’s 51), the Ducks said they’d like to reach the 50-point mark before they head out on the road.
“It would be huge,” said Mathieu Perreault, who is expected to return to the lineup tonight. “You want to get in that 50-point mark to try and catch Chicago. And, going on the road with a win at home is always good.”
“We always like to make a big point of winning the last game at home before you go out on the road,” said head coach Bruce Boudreau. “We’d like to be in the 50-point range, which is what we need if we get a win. There are a lot of goals we haven’t met that we’d like to meet in tonight’s game.”
DUCKS GETTING HEALTHY
The three-day break between games only did good things for a Ducks team finally getting close to dressing a full, healthy lineup.
Perreault, who was sidelined with a nagging lower-body injury, says he’s healed and ready to play tonight. Perreault has missed the last four games.
Francois Beauchemin also deemed himself ready to play after missing the last 10 with an upper-body injury.
Mark Fistric is also nearing a return to action after leaving Monday’s game with an upper-body ailment. There is a chance the physical defenseman plays tonight against his former team.
Jakob Silfverberg could see game action on the upcoming road trip for the first time since Oct. 25, when a Jared Cowen slash put the Ducks winger on the shelf with a broken right hand. Silfverberg has missed 23 games since the injury, but said it’s now about regaining strength in his hand and wrist.
All in all, the Ducks have lost 174 man games due to injury, tops in the league. Coincidentally, the Oilers rank second with 168.
Anaheim opens a five-game season series against Justin Schultz and the Edmonton Oilers. This marks the first time these two teams have played more than four games in a regular season since the 1998-99 campaign, when the clubs faced each other five times (2-3-0 record for Anaheim). The Ducks have won four consecutive games vs. the Oilers and swept last season's series, 3-0-0. Anaheim owns a 42-34-6 all-time record vs. Edmonton, including a 22-16-3 mark at Honda Center. The last time the Ducks won five straight over the Oilers was Dec. 7, 2010-Mar. 5, 2012. Following tonight's game, the season series will feature two additional games at Honda Center on Jan. 3 and Apr. 2, and two games at Rexall Place on Mar. 28 and Apr. 6.
“We know they’re a young, but skilled and fast team,” said Perreault. “We’re going to have to be ready even though their record doesn’t show it. We know they can come out and skate really hard, so we’ll have to be ready.”
Adds Boudreau, “They’re a good team. You just don’t want to let them get started because they’re an emotional team, and they thrive on emotion. We want to play a 60-minute game and get them to press before they get going.”