DUCKS 4 - OILERS 2
The Edmonton Oilers battled the Anaheim Ducks, including a season-high 22 shots in the second period, but a trio of Ducks goals in the third helped lift the home side to a 4-2 victory at the Honda Center on Monday night. Jordan Eberle
and Shawn Horcoff
scored the Edmonton goals in the loss.
AT THE MORNING SKATEAnaheim, CA - The Edmonton Oilers open a two-game California road trip tonight in Anaheim against the Ducks.
Earlier this season, the Oilers lost 5-0 to Anaheim on home ice and will be looking for some payback. The team did pull a win out of the Honda Center last year but overall have only won once against the Southern California squad in their last 10 outings.
"I just think compete," said Oilers head coach Tom Renney when asked what the keys are to defeating the Ducks tonight. "Play to our strengths. Puck speed, go on the attack. Making sure we don't give up the odd-man rushes."
Renney went on to talk about the Ducks' dangerous forward core - particularly the top six.
"They're a good team. This isn't the type of season they wanted, either but the one thing they are doing is playing games of consequence."
After starting the year 10-22-6, the Ducks have climbed their way back to .500 and are on the outskirts of a playoff race for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference -- seven points back of San Jose.
"They recovered well from a tough start. Whether or not they can pull this off at the end of the day remains to be seen."
Nikolai Khabibulin gets the start in goal tonight for Edmonton.
HALL GOOD TO GO
Tom Renney pronounced Taylor Hall ready to go after missing yesterday's practice due to a maintenance day. Hall took a tumble into the boards on Friday against Dallas and didn't miss a shift but showed a lot of discomfort in his shoulder.
Hall himself said he was ready to play. The winger took several drills, including a number of the shooting variety with Renney, and said he came away pain free every time.
With his shoulder not an issue, Hall turned his focus to playing against the Ducks' top unit of Bobby Ryan, Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf -- a trio which is expected to see at least some time together with Hagman substituting for Ryan at times.
"There's no doubt that they're a tough line to play against," said Hall of Anaheim's forwards. "When they're on top of their game they're so good, so fun to watch and so hard to play against at the same time."
With Hall likely being matched up against them, he knows what he has to do tonight.
"They score the majority of their goals, we need to play them hard. When you don't have a lot of time and someone's always in your face it makes for a long night."
OMARK A GAME-TIME DECISION
This morning, Linus Omark was called up from Oklahoma City of the AHL. Omark is coming off of three games in three nights after having played on the weekend for the Barons.
Coach Renney didn't tip his hand on whether Omark would suit up this evening but Omark said if he does, he'll be ready.
"It's more fun to play hockey than be hurt so I'm glad to be here," said Omark, referencing an ankle injury which kept him out of the lineup for over two months.
"My skating wasn't there," he said of his initial return. "The last couple of games I've been 100%. Feeling better and better every game."
Renney talked about the opportunity presented to the Swedish winger, playing his first game since being sent to OKC in late October after only playing in five games at the NHL level.
"Timing is everything," said Renney. "As we rebuild and integrate young players into our lineup -- and certain players -- it has cost him a little bit. But he's got terrific skill. He's got a knack. He's got a courage to play the game."
Renney added that what makes Omark the special player he can be is his creativity.
"Where this ends up going, is hard to say. I think he can contribute to our organization. I think there's an opportunity for him, should he come back and have a real strong training camp. Obviously, he needs to get traction. My hope is it's through us."
-- Marc Ciampa, edmontonoilers.com