One of the toughest things to do in sport is to beat a team twice in a row. Look for the Oilers to bring it from the drop of the puck. Arguably the fastest team in the NHL, these Oilers can really bring it.
Job 1 tonight isn’t to survive the attack. You may hear or read such nonsense advanced in broadcast or print media. Job 1 is to match the Oilers intensity. Do this, compete, and the rest will take care of itself. As we were reminded last night, our Ducks are a pretty good hockey team when they compete.
Our Ducks can clinch the Pacific Division crown and second seed in the Western Conference with a win. While it’s too soon to think about the playoffs, mainly because our first round opponent has yet to be determined, we won’t.
Keys to the Game
As mentioned, compete. Match the Oilers intensity from the get go. The challenge here is for our Ducks to keep their feet moving. You compete with the Oilers by skating with them.
Don’t look ahead. Focus on the play in front of you. Wednesday’s game against Vancouver is televised in Canada and on the NHL Network in the USA but that’s no excuse to look past these Oilers.
Second, smart positional play. Two guys deep in the offensive zone with a 3rd man high. Oilers are so quick in transition you committing 3 guys low in the offensive is the sure-fire way to get burned by giving up odd man attacks.
Force the Oilers outside in neutral zone. True their only goal came from the outside but it was their only goal because they were forced to the perimeter the entire game. In our zone every player must keep his body between his check and Jonas Hiller. We can’t let them get behind us.
Finally. finish scoring chances. Jeez Louise, from passes to nowhere, to shooting wide to hitting posts on empty nets our Ducks are having trouble putting the puck in the opposition net.
Yes we won last night but we had as much trouble scoring on an empty net as we did when Dubnyk was between the pipes.
Expecting Nick Bonino to replicate his performance might be a bit much to expect.
It’s been a quite a season for Bones. He unceremoniously caused the demotion of Teemu Selanne off the first unit PP. He settled the depth lines. It may not be long before Coach reunites the Bonino-Ryan-Selanne line. My hunch is that the second act will be far more successful than the first.