Oilers-Mighty Ducks Preview
GAME: Edmonton Oilers (25-18-6) at Anaheim Mighty Ducks (21-16-10).
TIME: Wednesday, 10:30 p.m. EST.
The Anaheim Mighty Ducks trail the Edmonton Oilers by four points for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
They will have a chance to cut the deficit in half when the teams meet for the second time this season.
The Oilers won 4-2 on Oct. 10 in the first of four games between the teams and have had the upper hand in the series since 2000-01, winning 13 of 17 matchups.
However, the Mighty Ducks are 9-1-2 in their last 12 home games and have lost just once in regulation in their last 10 games overall, going 5-1-4. Of those games, six were tied at the end of regulation and included two shootout wins, two shootout losses and two overtime defeats.
Anaheim has combined for a league-leading 10 overtime and shootout losses this season.
In the Mighty Ducks' 3-2 loss Monday to the Los Angeles Kings, Andy McDonald and Teemu Selanne scored in the shootout, but goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere was unable to stop Joe Corvo's game-winner in the 10th round.
Giguere had 32 saves in regulation and was backed by two goals from Francois Beauchemin, the second giving the Mighty Ducks a 2-1 lead early in the second period.
Despite the loss, Giguere was pleased with his team's effort and knows the importance of earning points against the Oilers before upcoming road games against Pacific Division rivals San Jose on Thursday and Los Angeles on Saturday.
"We played a really good game and we were in the lead pretty much the whole way," Giguere said. "This is a tough building to come into. The Kings work hard and they never quit. It's a tough loss, but we've got to go with the positives. We have two big games coming up this week before we play them again Saturday, and those are the games we have to focus on."
In 10 career starts against Edmonton, Giguere is just 2-7-1 with a 2.73 goals-against average.
The Oilers are 1-3-2 in their last six games and coming off their fourth straight home loss, 3-1 to Calgary on Monday. Their struggles at Rexall Place have been overshadowed by strong play on the road, where they are 8-1-4 since a 3-1 defeat to Chicago on Nov. 13.
Edmonton's 14-8-4 road record is the best in the Northwest Division.
Ales Hemsky provided the lone goal against the Flames at 8:41 of the second period, but Calgary's Kristian Huselius scored the eventual game-winner 16 seconds later.
Rookie goalie Mike Morrison made 18 saves in just his second start since Dec. 19.
STANDINGS (through Jan. 23): Oilers - 56 points, 4th place, 7 PB, Northwest Division. Mighty Ducks - 52 points, 3rd place, 12 PB, Pacific Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Oilers - Ryan Smyth, 20 goals; Shawn Horcoff, 35 assists and 50 points; Jason Smith, 66 PIM. Mighty Ducks - Selanne, 20 goals and 41 points; Scott Niedermayer, 26 assists; Todd Fedoruk, 100 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through Jan. 23): Oilers - Power play: 18.4 percent (56 for 304), 12th in NHL. Penalty killing: 83.3 percent (254 for 305), 12th. Mighty Ducks - Power play: 15.5 percent (43 for 278), 23rd. Penalty killing: 84.9 percent (259 for 305), 3rd (tied).
GOALTENDERS: Oilers - Jussi Markkanen (14-11-5, 3.12 GAA); Morrison (6-2-0, 2.37). Mighty Ducks - Giguere (14-6-9, 1 SO, 2.64); Ilya Bryzgalov (7-10-1, 2.62).
SEASON SERIES: Oilers, 1-0.
LAST MEETING: Oct. 10; Oilers, 4-2. At Anaheim, Calif., Raffi Torres scored twice and Radek Dvorak's power-play goal proved to be the game-winner maiway through the third period.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Oilers - 14-8-4 on the road; Mighty Ducks - 15-6-4 at home.