Western Conference Preview
Edmonton Vs. Anaheim
It’s the Selke Trophy Candidate Vs. the Art Ross Trophy Winner. he leagues Top offensive-defensemen Vs. The Leagues top point scorer. Ryan Kesler versus Connor McDavid. It’ll be a showdown of showdowns to say the least.
Last series, Edmonton faced a similar team in the San Jose Sharks, packed full with veterans and a top defence. They were able to isolate Connor McDavid, only allowing him to score 2 goals, 1 of them being the empty-netter that capped off the series.
This forced Oilers to rely on unlikely players such as Zack Kassian, who became an unsung hero, scoring two game winners. The Oilers 2 starting lines including, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Leon Draisaitl, Milan Lucic and Connor McDavid were outscored by the 3rd and 4th lines.
This shows the depth of this young Oilers team as well as the ability for Head Coach Todd McLellan to outthink his former team.The Ducks are red hot as they swept the ice cold Calgary Flames 4-0.
The Ducks also haven't lost in regulation for 18 straight games (March 10th.) On top of that, they get top defensemen Cam Fowler and Sami Vatanen returning from injury.
Veterans Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan Kesler, bring a youthfulness to their veteran leadership that the Sharks Thornton, Marleau and Pavelski may have been missing. Since, the Ducks long-unbeaten streak, it goes without saying that Captain Ryan Getzlaf has been key to this success. Scoring a league best 32-points in 22-games since March 1st.
If the Ducks want a shot at winning, they will need to again be able to isolate McDavid from creating opportunities and the deeper lines on this Ducks roster will have to deal with being roughed up by a fast-energetic-hard-hitting Oiler secondary.
They will also need help in net, as Bernier and Gibson have been relatively inconsistent with exception of the latter showing some signs of promise.
The Oiler offence will need to focus on running well with McDavid drawing most of the attention. Here’s looking to Leon Draisaitl, who can be the key for the Oilers to move on. He didn't do much against the Sharks, but lit up the red-light, 8 times in 5 games against the Ducks this season. If he can continue to expose the Ducks defence, then the Oilers with their under- dog magic, have a good chance of doing things unforeseen.