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5 Keys: Oilers at Ducks, Game 7

Anaheim's ability to contain Edmonton forward Leon Draisaitl among factors that will decide who makes conference final

by Dan Arritt / Correspondent


10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports

Best-of-7 series tied 3-3


ANAHEIM -- The Edmonton Oilers will attempt to become the fifth team in five years to eliminate the Anaheim Ducks in a Game 7 at Honda Center on Wednesday.

The Ducks have lost Game 6 on the road and Game 7 at home to the Nashville Predators (2016), Chicago Blackhawks (2015), Los Angeles Kings (2014) and Detroit Red Wings (2013). 

Anaheim had the opportunity to clinch Western Conference Second Round in six games but lost 7-1 at Edmonton on Sunday.

Here are 5 keys for Game 7:

1. Containing Leon Draisaitl

Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl was highly effective as a right wing against the Ducks this season. His production climbed another level when moved to center for Game 6.

Draisaitl had five points (three goals, two assists) in the victory, giving him 13 points (five goals, eight assists) in the series and 21 points (11 goals, 10 assists) in 11 games against the Ducks this season. 

His continued success may tempt Ducks coach Randy Carlyle to move shutdown center Ryan Kesler onto Draisaitl. That should open up the ice for Oilers center Connor McDavid, the NHL's leading scorer during the regular season with 100 points (30 goals, 70 assists) who has been limited to five points (three goals, two assists) while blanketed by Kesler in the series.

"We feel that we're quite capable of matching either of those centers," Carlyle said.

Video: ANA@EDM, Gm6: Draisaitl nets PPG to tally hat trick


2. History lesson

Ducks forward Ryan Getzlaf is third in scoring in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with 15 points (eight goals, seven assists) in 10 games. What will likely be remembered most is his performance in Game 7.

After finishing without a point in the Game 6 loss, Getzlaf has no goals and three assists in his past nine Game 6s and 7s. He's a minus-9 in those losses.

"There's a certain accountability that you have to put on yourself to go out and perform," Getzlaf said.

Video: EDM@ANA, Gm5: Getzlaf nets slapper from the point


3. Taking the lead

Carlyle has stressed the importance of a positive start since the Ducks were down 2-0 in the series, but they've been outscored 10-0 in the first period the past three games.

The Ducks didn't play from behind well during the regular season. They were 4-9-6 when trailing after the first period. They're 2-2 in the playoffs in that scenario.

"Your team can't be second out of the blocks," Carlyle said.


4. Oscar Klefbom's return

Oilers defenseman Oscar Klefbom will return after missing Game 6 with an upper-body injury. He averaged the most on-ice time during the regular season for the Oilers with 22:22 and was their highest-scoring defenseman with 38 points (12 goals, 26 assists) in 82 games.

Klefbom left Game 5 after blocking a shot from Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler but later returned in the 4-3 double-overtime loss. He was a surprise late scratch in Game 6. 

Defenseman Eric Gryba will continue filling in for Andrej Sekera, who sustained a lower-body injury in the first period of Game 5 and is out for the remainder of the series.

"I'm 100 percent ready to go tonight," Klefbom said. "This is what you dream of growing up."

Video: SJS@EDM, Gm5: Klefbom rips one-timer to tie game


5. Rookies in the mix

Injuries to forwards Patrick Eaves, Logan Shaw and Ondrej Kase led the Ducks to start defenseman Korbinian Holzer at right wing in Game 6. Anaheim is still digging deep into its organization for replacements.

Nic Kerdiles made his playoff debut in Game 5 after appearing in one previous NHL game and Sam Carrick could make his postseason debut in Game 7, depending on whether Kase is ready after returning to practice Tuesday.

Carrick has one goal in 19 NHL games, all with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Oilers projected lineup
Patrick Maroon -- Connor McDavid -- Drake Caggiula  

Milan Lucic -- Leon Draisaitl -- Anton Slepyshev

Benoit Pouliot -- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -- Jordan Eberle

Mark Letestu -- David Desharnais -- Zack Kassian

Darnell Nurse -- Adam Larsson

Kris Russell -- Matthew Benning

Oscar Klefbom -- Eric Gryba

Cam Talbot

Laurent Brossoit

Scratched: Mark Fayne, Griffin Reinhart, Anton Lander, Iiro Pakarinen, Nick Ellis, Jordan Oesterle, Matt Hendricks

Injured: Andrej Sekera (lower body)


Ducks projected lineup

Rickard Rakell -- Ryan Getzlaf -- Corey Perry

Andrew Cogliano -- Ryan Kesler -- Jakob Silfverberg

Nick Ritchie -- Antoine Vermette -- Nicolas Kerdiles

Chris Wagner -- Nate Thompson -- Ondrej Kase 

Cam Fowler -- Sami Vatanen

Hampus Lindholm -- Brandon Montour

Shea Theodore -- Josh Manson

John Gibson

Jonathan Bernier

Scratched: Jared Boll, Korbinian Holzer, Sam Carrick

Injured: Kevin Bieksa (lower body), Patrick Eaves (lower body), Logan Shaw (lower body)


Status report

Bieksa took part in the morning skate Wednesday but Carlyle said he had not yet been medically cleared. If he's cleared by the afternoon he'll be an option to enter the lineup for the first time since Game 1.


Who's hot

Maroon has seven points (two goals, five assists) in the series. ... Letestu has six points (two goals, four assists) in his past three games. ... Lucic has three points (one goal, two assists) in his past three games. ... McDavid has four points (three goals, one assist) in his past four games. ... Russell has four assists in his past four games. ... Silfverberg has 11 points (seven goals, four assists) in 10 playoff games. ... Rakell has a goal in four straight games. ... Fowler has five points (one goal, four assists) in the series. ... Perry has five points (one goal, four assists) in his past three games.

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