Round two starts tonight in Anaheim as the Edmonton Oilers take on the Anaheim Ducks which looks to make for an exciting, hard hitting, action packed series that I can’t wait so see unfold. Both teams are big, aggressive and like to play a physical game. This series is pretty much the opposite of the Oilers and Sharks series where the Sharks played a passive game trying not to wake up the Oilers bigger and stronger forwards. As a fan it should make for more entertaining hockey as both teams will be pushing forward, finishing every check and trying to get under one another’s skin.
Listening to what has been said on the radio and TV it sounds like the line of Ryan Kesler, Andrew Cogliano and Jokob Silfverberg will be the designated checking line against the Connor McDavid, Patrick Maroon and Leon Draisaitl. Sure Kesler is an excellent checker and both Cogliano and Silfverberg are serviceable N.H.L. players but Mcdavid has now has his taste of playoff hockey and will have learned what he needs to do to excel. Draisaitl is now healthy and will be ready to go so I believe that this line dominates this match up all series long. Mcdavid has had a goal and two assists the last two times he played the Ducks. Draisaitl has scored in every game against the Ducks this season getting eight points in five games. Let’s not forget about the left winger on that line who was basically given away by Anaheim. Maroon has five points in five games against the Ducks this season and will be looking to keep that pace going. So the way I see it bring the Kesler match up on! It hasn’t worked all season and I see no reason that it will work this series. F#@ Kesler!!! lol
The Ducks defence is banged up but still is a formidable back-end. They all skate very well and all can make a good first pass. This is a huge issue for the Oilers forwards. I see it playing out in two ways. The first is with a ton of soft chips into the corner so the large Oilers forwards can punish the Anaheim d at every chance hopefully wearing them down over a long series. When they don’t get a chance to forecheck I see them sitting way back and letting the d skate it out, forcing them to carrying it all the way in or to dump it in. There is no way their d will be able to score or even create that much when their forwards will be standing still in the neautral zone and the d is forced to create offence. As long as the Oilers can keep the d to outside and pick up the forwards coming late nothing should come from allowing the Anaheim d to skate the puck up ice IMO.
The Oilers hold the edge in net with Cam Talbot who has been unbelievably solid this entire season. John Gibson is a good goalie but he is not Cam Talbot. Talbot has a better goals against and save percentage so far this playoffs and I don’t see any reason for those numbers to change.
I see a long, exciting series with tons of hits, emotion and excitement. I see the Oilers winning in 6…maybe 7.
Keep the Faith!!!
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