For the first time, in what has been a season of firsts so far, the Edmonton Oilers (2-0-0) hit the road in 2005-06. They begin a short two-game trip through California tonight, putting their undefeated record on the line against the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim (1-0-1).
ROGERS SPORTSNET; GAME TIME:
8:30 P.M. MT
The Mighty Ducks are playing their home opener tonight after a road trip where they didnt lose in regulation time. Former Duck Paul Kariya scored the only goal in a shootout Saturday night, powering Nashville over Anaheim 3-2. In their season opener, Anaheim defeated Chicago 5-3.
OILERS TO WATCH:
With Ryan Smyth
on the shelf, a number of Oilers are going to have to step up their game tonight as they see their ice time increase. In two games, Shawn Horcoff
has impressed with three goals and an assist. He is also a +3. Radek Dvorak leads the team with three assists. Horcoff and Dvorak are both off to a fast start but are going to have to find a new linemate with Smyth out. A possible replacement on the left side is Raffi Torres, who scored two goals on Saturday. Jarret Stoll is the only other Oiler to score a goal this season.
MIGHTY DUCKS TO WATCH:
The heart of this Ducks team is comprised of a pair of high-profile free agent signings from this past summer. Scott Niedermayer is clearly the teams power play quarterback and netted a power play goal in the season opener against Chicago. Teemu Selanne has a goal and an assist in two games so far this season Sergei Fedorov is also dangerous both with and without the puck and may be due for a breakout game with only one assist in two games so far 22-year-old Edmonton native Joffrey Lupul leads the team with two goals.
Edmonton: Ryan Smyth
(sprained MCL) is out; Anaheim: Jonathan Hedstrom (Groin Strain) missed the first two games and is doubtful.
The Oilers are 26-23-2 all-time against the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, including 9-15-2 at the Arrowhead Pond This begins the first set of 13 back-to-back games for Edmonton The Ducks have a record of 38-17-13-6 over its last 74 home games, earning at least one point in 57 of them Fedorov is only 10 games away from playing 1,000 in the NHL
"I feel fresh. My body feels good, and my knee feels like it did when I came into the league. But I think a lot of players feel that way. It was a tough year - you couldn't even see hockey - but it's been good to get a break." – Mighty Ducks winger Teemu Selanne, whos ready for a big season now that hes returned to Anaheim.
The Oilers dropped a 4-2 decision to the Mighty Ducks on February 25, 2004 at Anaheim. Joffrey Lupul led the way for the home team with two goals, while Igor Ulanov and Cory Cross responded for the Oilers. After a scoreless first period, Anaheim skated out to a 2-0 lead in the second on goals by Niclas Havelid and Samuel Pahlsson. Cross scored 26 seconds into the third to make it 2-1. Lupul responded with his first at 4:31. Ulanov scored seven minutes later to bring Edmonton back to within a goal but Lupul iced the game with his second of the night with 3:06 to play. J.S. Giguere made 24 saves for the win, while Tommy Salo stopped 28 in a losing cause for Edmonton.
The Oilers meet the Los Angeles Kings tomorrow at 8:30 p.m. (TV: Sportsnet) before returning home to play Friday at Rexall Place against the Dallas Stars.