Goaltender Richard Bachman leaves the team due to a death in the family and Tyler Bunz is recalled; Oilers sign defenceman Joey LaLeggia plus more news and notes as the team gets set to play the Ducks on Wednesday.
ANAHEIM, CA - The Edmonton Oilers continue their three-game road trip tonight against the NHL's top team, the Anaheim Ducks.
The team will be icing the same lineup as last game -- a 4-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche -- with the exception being in goal.
“We’re staying the same for tonight. Hendricks is really close. The next couple of games are back-to-back. We’re looking at both him and Gordo (Boyd Gordon). Tomorrow’s a possible target for them to come back into the lineup,” Coach Todd Nelson stated.
As for in net, Ben Scrivens makes his first start since March 25 against Colorado after Richard Bachman played and won the last two. Bachman went home after a death in the family.
“(I found out) yesterday afternoon. There was a lot of things we had to figure out, about where he was going to be. And he was trying to figure things out as well. He left this morning to be with his family. And obviously our prayers and condolences go out to him and his family.”
Nelson expects that the team will play the same way tonight as the last couple of games.
“It doesn’t change. We’ve just got to play a real simple, smart hockey game. We’ve got to make them come 200 feet all night. If we can’t carry the puck in or chip it in, we’re using our forecheck. I want to keep them to the outside. They’re a big, heavy team and we’re going to have to match their compete level.”
The interim head coach added that he feels the team is as confident as he's seen in his tenure as bench boss.
“I think our group is playing confident. We’re playing relaxed and the guys are having fun. They’re having fun together. I just made a comment to one of the coaches during practice. The team is driving itself right now. I don’t have to stop practice and lean on them about executing better. Now it’s become a habit. The guys are playing well and playing hard for each other. That’s the most important thing.”
The line of Taylor Hall, Anton Lander and Andrew Miller has been playing quite well since being put together as a unit back on March 21.
“It was one of those things. I spoke with Taylor about this and said, look, the other lines were going pretty well and I think having Andrew Miller with Anton would be a nice complement to you and it’s worked out well so far. They had a really strong game last game. And once again, we’re taking it game-by-game. I like what I see. I think that it’s a credit to Taylor to accept that role. He’s a big part of that line, obviously, but they’re playing well together and generating some offence. I like what I’m seeing so far. Hopefully that continues,” said Nelson.
Hall has a point in each of the five games -- two goals and three assists in total -- and a +4 rating. Lander has four assists in the five games and Miller has six points in the five games with a +3 rating.
“All three of us on the line have something to play for. Landy’s playing to solidify a spot for next year, Millsy the same thing. I’m trying to get something out of the season for myself. We’re all motivated and we take it as a challenge every night that we have to play well and produce for our team. It’s been really fun.”
Miller has found that Lander and Hall have made the transition to the NHL an easy one for him.
“They’ve helped out a lot and they’re smart players and easy to read off and they work hard so that helps. I can jump in and play a little easier. They’re good players and good to play with.”
-- Marc Ciampa, edmontonoilers.com
OILERS (23-40-13) at DUCKS (49-22-7)
TV: SNW, FS-W
Season series: The Anaheim Ducks are seeking a season sweep of the Edmonton Oilers. Ducks forward Ryan Getzlaf has three points and goalie Frederik Andersen is 2-0-0 with a 1.50 goals-against average. Teddy Purcell has a goal and an assist for the Oilers.
Oilers team scope: Edmonton looks to win its fourth consecutive game for the first time since October. The Oilers defeated the Colorado Avalanche 4-1 on Monday. "It's a good team game right now," coach Todd Nelson told the Oilers website after the game. "We will see what happens the rest of the trip. It's going to be a tough situation going into Anaheim and L.A. but right now it is a good test for us." Prior to Monday, the Oilers were 0-3-2 in their previous five road games. Goalie Richard Bachman has allowed one goal in his past two starts and likely will start. Forward Benoit Pouliot has four points in three games. Forward Andrew Miller has a goal and six points in his past three games.
Ducks team scope: Anaheim forwards Ryan Kesler and Matt Beleskey, and defenseman Clayton Stoner, did not practice Monday. Coach Bruce Boudreau called it a maintenance day for Kesler and said Beleskey and Stoner, who each sustained lower-body injuries, are not yet fully healthy. "Matt is still more sore than Ryan is and Clayton was banged up last game," Boudreau told the Ducks website. "In a situation where we have seven other healthy defensemen, we kept him off." Forward Tim Jackman (lower body), who hasn't played since March 1, could skate before the game. Anaheim allowed 12 combined goals in losses to the New York Rangers and Columbus Blue Jackets but has given up five goals in its past three, all victories. Andersen and John Gibson have shared starts the past 15 games with Gibson (eight) playing one more game than Andersen. Anaheim is atop the NHL standings with 105 points, two more than the Rangers and Nashville Predators.