PRE-GAME REPORT: Oilers vs. Ducks
News and notes from the Oilers organization, including the release of Episode 10 of The Drop, which follows Edmonton’s sweep of their first road trip of the campaign.
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EDMONTON, AB – Press the reset button and get right back to work.
After a tough Thursday night loss to the St. Louis Blues that included late drama, controversy and plenty of emotion, head coach Jay Woodcroft’s eyes will be on how his Edmonton Oilers team shrugs off the loss and defeats the Anaheim Ducks in one continues matinee matchup at Rogers Place on Saturday afternoon.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing how our team and how individuals react to last night and how we react to that is to play a good game tomorrow,” Woodcroft said after optional Oilers practice on Friday.
A one-goal lead and a power play in the final minute of Thursday’s game vanished for the Oilers after the Blues pulled goalie Jordan Binnington for a 5-on-5 equalizer before a turnover from Darnell Nurse in the defensive zone Vladimir Tarasenko led, tying the game with 20 seconds remaining.
After it looked like Leon Draisaitl had given Edmonton the extra point in overtime, a controversial video review overturned Connor McDavid’s goal for offside, adding even more excitement to the competition before the Blues won on penalties.
In hindsight, it was all an internal analysis by the Oilers rather than basing the result on a dubious offside call.
“In the end, we didn’t get the job done,” Woodcroft said. “We will use it as a growth opportunity. I focus on what happened yesterday in the rearview mirror. We’ve beat this game, we’ve studied it, we’ve had our meetings and so on, so we’ll take it with us as we progress. Hopefully it makes us better.”
Coach Woodcroft, in his Friday media availability, identified some of the Oilers’ positive contributions in the 65 minutes that gave them the best chance of winning the two points — more successful special teams, consistent goaltenders and system structure — but ultimately the bench boss led the loss to a single one Play back at the end of the rule that had to be completed.
“I would say I wouldn’t overcook this,” he said. “I think we made a mistake turning the puck on a game that’s usually done. We didn’t make it and had to pay for it. As a result, we got a point instead of two.”
Video: RAW | Jay Woodcroft 12/16/22
Sometimes these plays happen in hockey, and the players and coaches who experience these disappointing moments firsthand accept them as part of the game. How you learn from these moments and respond appropriately is of paramount importance.
“What I’ve learned in my time as a coach is that just like a parent, you can’t be a helicopter parent and you can’t be a helicopter coach,” he added. “We think we had the right people on the ice. We haven’t done the work, but we’re trying to equip our players with the tools they need to be successful in any situation. Last night we had to pay when we made it a mistake.”
A brief memory will be needed on Saturday in a clash with an Anaheim team who picked up just their second all-season win all season Thursday in Montreal.
“But it was certainly a growing moment, and like I said, I’m excited to see how our team and how individuals react in tomorrow’s game against Anaheim.
Forwards Ryan McLeod and Warren Foegele were on the ice for Friday’s optional skate, with the latter appearing to be a possible option for the Oilers Saturday afternoon against Anaheim.
“Warren Foegele is an available player for us,” said Woodcroft.
Foegele collided with Rangers forward Vincent Trocheck in the neutral zone on November 26 and has missed the last 10 games through injury. It seemed possible that the Markham, ON product could halve that recovery time until a setback pushed its return date to mid-December.
Video: RAW | Warren Foegele 12/16/22
“Yeah, it was kind of a freak accident,” he said. “I don’t really know how that happened, but being injured is never fun and definitely during the regular season. I thought I was heading in the right direction, which makes it a bit frustrating. But it’s good to be back.
McLeod was on Friday for the first time on the ice since pinching his ankle in the same game as Foegele but is still a long way from his return. Nonetheless, Friday was a positive development for the center.
“Yes, I thought it was positive that he ran with the group today,” said Woodcroft. “It’s still not a full team skate, but I thought it was positive that he was out there. I think he’s making progress.
“He’s got the kind of injury you just have to make sure you monitor and see how he reacts as you raise his level of work. So it’s positive that he was in our group today.”
Video: RAW | Ryan McLeod 12/16/22
The Oilers made two roster moves Friday, putting center Brad Malone on waivers to assign him to the Bakersfield Condors before recalling defenseman Markus Niemelainen.
— Jamie Umbach, EdmontonOilers.com
OILERS vs. DUCKS
SEE: 14:00 CET; aired on Sportsnet
Oilers Team Scope
The Edmonton Oilers lost 4-3 to the St. Louis Blues in Thursday night’s shootout at Rogers Place in a tough result for the Blue & Orange.
The Oilers had a late lead and a powerplay opportunity in the last minute, but a collapse in the defensive zone resulted in Vladimir Tarasenko leveling the game with 20 seconds left to force an overtime.
“It’s disappointing because the game is right there but you keep going,” said the defender Tyson Barrie, who had three assists, said after the game. “It’s a game of mistakes, so people come and watch and of course we have to learn how to close them.”
Edmonton and Leon Draisaitl thought they had the winning goal when the German completed a rebound past Binnington, but sparked a review by the NHL Situation Room in Toronto for offside in the previous zone entry Connor McDavid toppled the Oilers’ game winner. Jordan Kyrou scored in the skill contest while Binnington made all three stops to give St. Louis the extra point.
“We kind of get burned on a call in the playoffs about a similar situation,” McDavid said of the review. “You don’t know if it’s offside or offside, but the league needs to sort out some of those rules – what’s a kick, what’s offside, what’s goalkeeper interference – probably depends on the night I think. So disappointing. Obviously, we should never let it get that far.”
After Saturday’s matinee against the Ducks, the Oilers played two games against the Nashville Predators and Dallas Stars.
Video: POST RAW | Connor McDavid 12/15/22
Duck Team Scope
Defenseman John Klingberg scored twice for the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday and broke a 2-2 third-half tie against the Montreal Canadiens in a 5-2 win at Bell Center in just their second regular win of the season.
“We’ve got such a good group here, we’re so connected and so close that we’re really not upset at this point,” said forward Trevor Zegras. “We know where we stand and we just stick together in situations like this and of course Klingberg’s goal was a big one.”
Goaltender Lukas Dostal made only his fifth NHL start with the injury-related loss of John Gibson and Anthony Stolarz in the crease, but stopped 23 shots to earn his second NHL win. The Czech keeper will take on the majority of Anaheim’s goalkeeping duties if the starting tandem is out.
“You know, when you’re a team like we’re in kind of full rebuild mode right now, it’s difficult to maintain, but that’s our goal every night,” Ducks head coach Dallas Eakins said. “I think we’re better than our record, but our record is our record and we own it. So I liked how we played overall.”
Anaheim clinched a four-win streak and a nine-loss streak on the road with the win while improving to 8-20-3 for the season. The Ducks aim to win straight games in regular form on Saturday for the first time since Jan. 27-29, 2022.
Saturday afternoon’s meeting with Edmonton rounds out a four-game outing in Canada for the Ducks, who were knocked out 7-0 and 3-0 in back-to-back losses to the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators.
According to the numbers
The Oilers have at least one power play goal in five straight games and have multiple PPGs in five of their last seven games… The Oilers are 13-29 on the power play in eight games in December. .. The Oilers lead the NHL with 23 games with 1+ PPG this season, while the Ducks have an NHL-low of seven games with one PPG… McDavid has scored at least one goal in each of his last seven home games (tie career best streak)… The last time McDavid kept a home clean sheet was on November 16 against LA…
Zach Hyman (123rd overall in 2010) and Troy Terry (148th overall in 2015) are both former fifth-round picks who are finding success this season…The Ducks have been beaten 130-73 this season…their -57 -Goal The differential is the worst in a single season in franchise history…Zegras had his eighth multi-point game this season, tying Troy Terry with the Ducks for most…Zegras has 29 multi-point games, the most of any Anaheim player since his debut in the 2020-21 NHL… It was the third time the Ducks had led after two thirds this season (2-0-1)…
OILER – Oscar Klefbom (shoulder) is on IR; Mike Smith (unknown) is on IR; Evander Kane (wrist) is on IR; Ryan McLeod (unknown) is on IR; Warren Foegele (undisclosed) is there every day.
DUCKS – Max Jones (upper body) is by the day; John Gibson (undisclosed) is by the day; Anthony Stolarz (lower body) is on IR; Derek Grant (lower body) is on IR; Isac Lundestrom (torso) is on IR; Jamie Drysdale (torn shoulder labrum) is on IR; John Moore (undisclosed) is on IR.
— Jamie Umbach, EdmontonOilers.com