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Oilers' Hall struggling; Ducks find scoring touch

Anaheim looking to continue climb up Pacific Division

by Derek Van Diest / NHL.com Correspondent

DUCKS (28-19-8) at OILERS (22-29-6)

TV: 9 p.m., ET; PRIME, FS-SD, NHL.TV

EDMONTON -- Edmonton Oilers left wing Taylor Hall is changing his stick against the Anaheim Ducks at Rexall Place on Tuesday in an attempt to end a scoring slump.

Hall leads the Oilers in scoring with 18 goals and 50 points, but has not scored a goal in his past 10 games and has two goals in his past 17 games. 

"It [stinks], you want to be producing and you want to be a guy that produces offense for this team," Hall said. "But when it's not happening on that side of the rink, you have to make sure you're good in your end of the rink. I thought our last game [a 2-1 shootout loss to the Winnipeg Jets] we were pretty good in our end. It didn't really come offensively, but we didn't really give up anything on the other end." 

The Oilers have one win in their past five games (1-3-1) and are 12 points out of the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference. Hall has two assists in seven games since rookie center Connor McDavid returned to the Oilers' lineup. 

McDavid has four goals and 12 points in seven games since returning from a fractured clavicle on Feb. 2. McDavid missed 37 games after he was injured on Nov. 3. 

Hall's linemate, Leon Draisaitl, is scoreless in his past five games. The two were separated against the Jets, but are expected play together against the Ducks. 

"For us, I think the game in our end had been slipping away and once that kind of went, we lost confidence at the other end," Hall said. "It seemed like we put too much pressure on ourselves to create offense when we weren't playing well in our end. There are a lot of ebbs and flows throughout the season and it can go just as fast as it comes, but all it takes is a couple of good periods and you can forget all about that." 

In an effort to reignite Hall's line, Oilers coach Todd McLellan sat down with his leading scorer after practice Monday. 

"We went through some areas of his game and it's not always negative," McLellan said. "We're not always bringing him in and whacking him, we're showing him things he's done well and can build on. I think every player has a foundation and when they're going well, they feel good because certain things are happening before they score a goal or get an assist." 

Anaheim also knows about struggling offensively. The Ducks were the NHL's lowest-scoring team during their first trip to Edmonton on Dec. 31, a 1-0 win, but have since found their scoring touch and have won nine of their past 11 games (9-1-1). 

"There were times earlier this year where we were hitting three or four posts a game," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. "Now, the puck is starting to go in for us. But there was a time when we were really struggling to score." 

Anaheim is playing the sixth of a season-high, seven-game road trip, concluding at the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday. 

The Ducks were once at the bottom of the Pacific Division standings, but have since climbed to second place, five points behind the Los Angeles Kings. 

"The first three months of the season were pretty hard," Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf said. "It was tough showing up at the rink knowing that we had a lot bigger expectations for ourselves as well as others. It's nice to enjoy playing hockey again." 

Goaltender Cam Talbot will start for the Oilers after missing the previous game with the flu. Goalie Frederik Anderson will start for the Ducks. 

Here are the projected lineups: 

DUCKS 

David Perron - Ryan Getzlaf - Mike Santorelli  

Nick Ritchie - Rickard Rakell - Corey Perry  

Andrew Cogliano - Ryan Kesler - Jakob Silfverberg  

Patrick Maroon - Nate Thompson - Ryan Garbutt  

Cam Fowler - Kevin Bieksa  

Hampus Lindholm - Josh Manson  

Simon Despres - Sami Vatanen  

Frederik Andersen  

Anton Khudobin  

Injured: Chris Stewart (jaw), John Gibson (upper body), Clayton Stoner (hip) 

Scratched: Korbinian Holzer, Harry Zolnierczyk  

OILERS 

Benoit Pouliot - Connor McDavid - Jordan Eberle  

Taylor Hall - Leon Draisaitl - Teddy Purcell  

Zack Kassian - Mark Letestu - Nail Yakupov  

Iiro Pakarinen - Matt Hendricks - Lauri Korpikoski  

Andrej Sekera - Mark Fayne  

Darnell Nurse - Justin Schultz  

Brandon Davidson - Eric Gryba  

Cam Talbot 

Laurent Brossoit  

Injured: Oscar Klefbom (lower body), Andrew Ference (hip), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (hand). 

Scratched: Adam Clendening, Anton Lander  

Status report: McLellan said some of his players are ill and there could be late lineup change depending on how they feel prior to the game.  … Gibson took an optional morning skate for the Ducks, but will not dress against the Oilers. Boudreau said he is still day-to-day with an upper-body injury and is not sure when he'll return. 

Who's hot: Eberle has four goals and an assist in his past three games. … McDavid has three goals and four assists in his past four games. … Getzlaf is on a five-game point streak (two goals, seven assists). … Santorelli has three goals and one assists in his past three games.

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