COSTA MESA, CA - A three-game road trip wraps up tonight in Anaheim as the Oilers wrap up the second of back-to-back games.
This is the eighth time that the Oilers have played back-to-back games this season. There are only three remaining even though the season has just passed the halfway point.
Tonight’s lineup is expected to have a handful of changes. Jordan Eberle is out with a tweaked knee.
“He was willing to go in warmup and give it a try,” said Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins, adding that he didn’t feel that it was worth the risk even though the injury does not appear to be a serious one.
Mark Arcobello and Ryan Jones both make their returns to the lineup after missing six and five games respectively due to injury. Eakins did not say which other forward would be drawing out.
Ilya Bryzgalov gets the start in net tonight.
Another lineup change is defenceman Brad Hunt coming in to play.
“We were on the bus going down to San Antonio. I was called up to the front of the bus and told I'm coming up. It's an awesome, awesome feeling. You never know what to expect when you get that call. I'm really excited,” said Hunt at the team’s hotel availability this morning.
Eakins added that he would like Hunt to play with a veteran defender.
“I think we're going to plan on giving Huntsy some experience to play with. We're still kicking it around but I think we'll play him with Nick Schultz.”
KEYS FOR TONIGHT
Eakins stressed that the team cannot continue to give the puck away at crucial moments and that will be one of several key to a victory against a red hot Anaheim Ducks team that hasn't lost at home in regulation all season and 12-1-2 overall since November 26.
"Scoring first is key, especially for us. It's tough to chase games in the league. One thing we need to do -- and we just had a lengthy video meeting -- is limit the gifts," Eakins began.
"The biggest thing we have to do is bring some emotion and fire in the game."
-- Marc Ciampa, edmontonoilers.com
NHL.COM GAME PREVIEW
OILERS (13-25-5) at DUCKS (29-8-5)
TV: SNET-W, SNET-EDM; FS-W
Last 10: Edmonton 2-6-2; Anaheim 9-1-0
Season series: This is the second of five games between the Anaheim Ducks and Edmonton Oilers. The Ducks won 3-2 at Honda Center on Dec. 15 and have won five in a row against the Oilers.
Big story: The Pacific Division leaders will try to extend their streak of getting at least one point at home this season to 18 games, while the Oilers aim to bounce back after being beaten 5-1 by the San Jose Sharks on Thursday.
Oilers: There wasn't a whole lot for coach Dallas Eakins to like about his team's performance in San Jose. The Oilers were outshot 17-7 in the first period and 36-24 for the game, and they trailed 4-0 in the second period before Nail Yakupov's goal enabled Edmonton to avoid being shut out.
Though this is the second half of a back-to-back, the top line of Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and David Perron figures to come out with plenty of fire. Eakins benched them for a stretch in the second period.
"They weren't doing anything. We're not a deep enough team to have the luxury of them having an off night," he said.
"I talked to the line in between periods and what my concerns were I let them know how important they were to our team's success and then I let them get back out there."
Ducks: Like the Oilers, Anaheim is coming off a game against the Sharks. But the Ducks' results were a lot better - they routed their Northern California rivals 6-3 on New Year's Eve to improve to 15-0-2 at Honda Center, where Anaheim has yet to lose in regulation.
"We've had good success at home and we love playing in this building in front of our fans," coach Bruce Boudreau told the media after practice on Thursday. "We loved it the other night, especially, when [our fans] were rowdy and [the arena] was full. It's amazing how much energy that gives to the players."
Who's hot: Yakupov had the Oilers' lone goal and saw 15:53 of ice time, the most he's had since Dec. 10. … Saku Koivu has three goals and six points in Anaheim's past three games. Corey Perry has six assists in the Ducks' past five games.