The NHL jumps right back into action on November 23 after taking the day off for Thanksgiving Day. Eleven games will be on the schedule for Friday night. One of those games will be between Pacific Division rivals in the Edmonton Oilers and the Anaheim Ducks. I expect a solid matchup between these rivals on November 23.
Edmonton has gone 10-10-1, which has put them in fifth place of the Pacific Division. The Oilers fired their Head Coach Todd McLellan recently and now have hired Ken Hitchcock to replace him. Edmonton won Hitchcock’s first game against the Sharks in overtime. Now the Oilers will look to go 2-0 for Hitchcock on the road in Anaheim.
The Ducks have gone 9-9-5 to start out the new season. Anaheim is sitting in third place of the Pacific Division. The Ducks won their last game against Vancouver, but they have lost three of their last four games. Anaheim will look to have a two-game winning streak for the first time since October 17.
This will be the first matchup between these teams this season. These two teams will meet three more times this season on January 6, February 23 and March 30. The Oilers and Ducks have played some good rivalry matchups in the past and I believe it could be another good game on Friday night.
Last Season’s Matchups
Edmonton and Anaheim met up four times throughout last season. The first matchup between the two teams was held in Edmonton. Kris Russell and Ryan Kesler were the only goal scorers in regulation. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored the game-winning goal in the shootout to get a 2-1 win. Both Cam Talbot and John Gibson had 33 saves on 34 shots.
Anaheim hosted the second matchup of the season series. Kris Russell had another goal for the Oilers. Hampus Lindholm scored a goal and added an assist for the Ducks. John Gibson had 30 saves, while Cam Talbot turned away 31 shots. Anaheim was able to pull off the win at home 3-2.
The third game of the season series stayed in Anaheim. The Oilers were led by Connor McDavid who had three points. Ryan Strome scored twice for Edmonton. Rickard Rakell had a hat trick for the Ducks. Ryan Getzlaf had a goal and three assists for Anaheim. The game needed a shootout to be decided. Connor McDavid scored the game-winner in the shootout to give Edmonton a 6-5 win.
Edmonton hosted the final matchup of the season series. The Oilers were led by Connor McDavid who scored a goal and had two assists. Adam Henrique scored twice for the Ducks, while Corey Perry had a goal and an assist. Hampus Lindholm scored in overtime to give Anaheim the 5-4 win.
The Ducks and Oilers split the season series 2-2. Anaheim went on to make the playoffs last season, while Edmonton missed out. The Ducks are sitting in the playoff picture right now, but I do not believe it will last that way for long. Edmonton can knock them out of the playoff picture with a win on the road on Friday night.
The Oilers have started out the season with a solid power play. Edmonton has scored on 20 percent of their power play opportunities. The Oilers penalty kill has been able to stop their opponent’s on 75 percent of their power play chances. Edmonton could use some improvement on their penalty kill.
Anaheim’s special teams have been the opposite of the Oilers. The Ducks are below league average on the power play and around league average on the penalty kill. Anaheim has scored on about 16 percent of their power play chances. The Ducks have been able to turn away 80 percent of their opponent’s power-play opportunities.
These two teams have special teams that match up really well with each other. The Oilers struggling penalty kill will need to beat Anaheim’s power play, which has also struggled. I believe Edmonton could have a better special teams’ unit with their new head coach. With Connor McDavid on the roster, the power play always has the potential to score.
I believe that Cam Talbot will be in net for the Oilers on Friday night. Talbot has posted a 5-8-1 record in his 14 starts this season. He has a save percentage of .888 and a 3.31 GAA in his performances this season. Talbot has struggled a lot this season and will need to turn it around if Edmonton wants to stay in the playoff picture.
John Gibson will likely start in net for Anaheim. Gibson has posted a .927 save percentage and a GAA of 2.58 this season. In his 18 starts this season, he has a record of 7-7-4 record. Gibson has played really well for the Ducks and he will look to slow down Edmonton’s offense on Friday night.
The Oilers are entering the game looking to earn Ken Hitchcock a 2-0 start. Anaheim has dealt with a lot of injuries early in this season and it has caught up with them recently. I believe that this gives Edmonton a good chance to pull off the road win. I believe that Hitchcock has a good chance to turn around this talented roster. This is a winnable game for the Oilers.
Anaheim is listed at a money line of -103 at home against Edmonton. The Ducks and Oilers played really close games last season, which makes sense why it is close to an even money line this game. I believe that the Oilers have the better team right now and it will show on Friday night. Edmonton is looking to continue to turn around their season with a road win. I am taking the Oilers on the road.