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At the Rink: Oilers at Ducks

by Abbey Mastracco /

ANAHEIM -- After a slow start to the season, the Anaheim Ducks are back to looking more like their old selves in all areas of the game except for one: the second period.

The Ducks have allowed 21 goals in the second period this season and only scored five. Facing the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday (10 p.m. ET; SN1, FS-W), Anaheim is hoping better mental preparation and more precise line changes can help improve its second-period play.

"To me, it's 90 percent about line changes," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. "With that long change, if you don't make the right changes at the right time, you usually get caught and you're in trouble. It's something you have to work on."

The second period has become a high priority after the Ducks let a 2-0 lead slip by giving up three goals to the Arizona Coyotes in the second period Monday. It was a struggle last season as well and the Ducks are trying to avoid falling back into old habits.

"It's a big issue," left wing Andrew Cogliano said. "I think guys need to understand that it is a big issue because we're losing games because of it and we lost a lot of games last year because of it."

Boudreau said it's a mental issue the Ducks need to get over. It's been discussed at length in the past two days and the players have come to the conclusion it's unacceptable to coast in such a crucial period.

"We need to be a little more aggressive," Cogliano said. "I think sometimes when we're up a couple goals we come in the room and feel good, maybe sit back a bit and see what's going to happen. It's individual preparation. Guys need to stick to the game plan."

The Oilers want to see that same sense of urgency in the first period.

"I think it's up to each individual to be ready," defenseman Oscar Klefbom said. "I think it's tough to put words on it, but the key point is to be ready for the first five minutes."

Coach Todd McLellan said he sees a belief that the Oilers can win when they're down later in games, but it's an important factor he wants to see right from the start.

Still very much in the evaluation process with his new organization, McLellan is trying to inspire greater confidence in his team on a nightly basis.

"It's coming to the rink and believing that you can put your game out there and challenge any team in the League," McLellan said. "We can talk short term against Anaheim or short term against Arizona tomorrow, but it's the long-term problem that we're going to have to deal with and we're going to have to rectify as the games and months go on."

Here are the projected lineups:


Taylor Hall - Leon Draisaitl - Jordan Eberle

Benoit Pouliot - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Nail Yakupov

Anton Lander - Mark Letestu - Teddy Purcell

Luke Gazdic - Andrew Miller - Iiro Pakarinen

Darnell Nurse - Andrej Sekera

Brandon Davidson - Oscar Klefbom

Griffin Reinhart - Eric Gryba

Anders Nilsson

Cam Talbot

Injured: Connor McDavid (fractured clavicle), Rob Klinkhammer (foot), Justin Schultz (back), Lauri Korpikoski, Matt Hendricks (lower body)

Scratched: Mark Fayne, Andrew Ference


Patrick Maroon - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry

Carl Hagelin - Ryan Kesler - Jakob Silfverberg

Andrew Cogliano - Rickard Rakell - Chris Stewart

Mike Santorelli - Shawn Horcoff- Chris Wagner

Cam Fowler - Kevin Bieksa

Hampus Lindholm - Josh Manson

Clayton Stoner - Sami Vatanen

Frederik Andersen

Anton Khudobin

Injured: Nate Thompson (shoulder), Jiri Sekac (ankle), Simon Despres (upper body)

Scratched: Korbinian Holzer, Max Friberg

Status report: Rakell, who missed the past three games with an upper-body injury, took part in Anaheim's optional morning skate. Boudreau said he remains a game-time decision. Rakell said he's ready to play.

Who's hot: Stewart has three goals in the past five games with a plus-4 rating. Along with Vatanen, he leads the Ducks with three goals. … Andersen is unbeaten in four games against Edmonton. … Perry has 32 points in 38 games against Edmonton and Getzlaf has 36 points in 34 games. … Hall's 61 shots on goal rank second in the NHL. He also leads the Oilers in scoring with six goals and 16 points.

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