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Ducks try to continue success in Edmonton

by John Kreiser

DUCKS (13-22-7) at OILERS (16-22-4)


Last 10: Anaheim 4-4-2; Edmonton 2-7-1

Season Series: The teams are meeting for the first of four times this season -- they don't see each other again until March 5. The Ducks won the last three of the four games in 2010-11 and have won seven straight visits to Rexall Place.

Big Story: The 13th- and 14th-place teams in the Western Conference both need to run off a string of victories to have any hopes of getting back in the playoff race -- the Oilers are 14 points out of eighth place; the Ducks are 17 out despite a 3-0-1 burst.

Team Scope:

Ducks: Anaheim opened a road trip in Calgary on Thursday night after winning the final three games of a six-game homestand for its best stretch under new coach Bruce Boudreau. With starting goaltender Jonas Hiller back from injury, the Ducks' defense tightened up -- but the offense did nothing. Blair Jones' overtime goal gave the Flames a 1-0 win.

But with points in four games, center Saku Koivu said the Ducks have something to build on.

"The wins on the road have been really tough for us," Koivu said. "We were able to keep them under 15 shots throughout almost the whole game. We did a lot of good things out there. You're trying to build on things with things like this and games like this and grab all the positives for tomorrow's game and then hopefully get the win."

Oilers: There was disappointment at practice on Thursday after the Oilers had to settle for a point when New Jersey scored a power-play goal in overtime for a 2-1 win at Rexall Place on Wednesday. But there was also a sense of progress being made. The Oilers battled back to tie the game in the third period and had numerous chances to win before an offensive-zone penalty to Corey Potter in the final minute of regulation set up the Devils' OT winner.

"It was a tight game, but we had chances on the power play," Anton Lander said. "We've got to step up because we need the points tomorrow."

Who's Hot: Hiller bounced back from a lower-body injury and stopped 18 of 19 
shots in Calgary. He's 1-0-1 in his last two decisions. … Ales Hemsky scored Edmonton's lone goal against the Devils and has four points in his last four games.

Injury Report: Anaheim backup goaltender Dan Ellis is on IR with a groin injury. … The Oilers are still without their top two scorers, Jordan Eberle (knee) and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who hopes to recover from a shoulder injury in time to take part in All-Star Weekend. Also missing are defensemen Ryan Whitney, Cam Barker and Tom Gilbert, all of whom are sidelined with ankle injuries.

Stat Pack: Anaheim is 1-16-3 when giving up the first goal. ... The Ducks are 6-9-3 since Boudreau took over as coach on Nov. 30.

Puck Drop: Friday's game is a homecoming of sorts for Anaheim's Andrew Cogliano, who was traded to the Ducks by the Oilers last summer. Cogliano spent his first four seasons with the Oilers after Edmonton picked him in the first round (No. 25) in the 2005 NHL Draft, but never approached the 45 points he scored in his rookie season.

The Ducks signed him to a three-year contract after the deal; he has eight goals and 14 points this season.

“I thought Andrew last year found his game,” Oilers coach Tom Renney said Thursday. “He found how he could be important to a team. I think he will build on that now moving forward. You have to give up things in order to get things and I thought Cogs is a really good kid and has assets that people playing in this League can only dream of."


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