Edmonton are one-nil up in the series after a 5-3 victory earlier this week and the Canadian side will be quietly confident of extending their lead on Saturday. Anaheim rarely lose two home games in a row but the Oilers, buoyed by star center Connor McDavid, might have enough quality to advance to the next round in the race for the Stanley Cup.
The Oilers were simply sublime in Game One, restricting Anaheim to a limited number of genuine goal scoring opportunities. While Edmonton conceded three goals, they managed to net five of their own – and it would take a brave man to back against Todd McLellan’s men as they continue to build momentum.
Edmonton have now won five of their last six games and confidence is sky high. In their most recent encounter, Leon Draisaitl notched four points to dispatch the Ducks; and the Oilers will rely on their talented individuals to secure another victory this weekend.
KEY MAN: Connor McDavid. While it would be unfair to label Edmonton as a one man team, McDavid is their shining star. At 20 years old, he is young but he has bags of potential and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see the Oilers win the Stanley Cup in the near future. He led the NHL in regular season points, notching 100 in total – 11 more than his closest rival.
McDavid has struggled to hit top form in the postseason but he is still a pivotal member of this Edmonton offense. If he can influence and build momentum in a positive light, he will be helping the Oilers in their bid to go two-nil up in the series. Even if he doesn’t score the goals, McDavid will play a key role in this clash.
Prior to the Game One defeat against Edmonton, the Ducks had won six games in a row – an incredible feat. Anaheim have been on the cusp of glory for a number of years but this could finally be their time to shine on the big stage. Without a doubt, Stanley Cup success remains the ultimate goal for the Ducks this season.
In the regular campaign, Anaheim were one of the most consistent teams in the National Hockey League and they will look to bounce back at the first time of asking after defeat in the opening match of the series. If the Ducks find their best form, they could level things up ahead of a double header in Edmonton.
KEY MAN: Ryan Getzlaf. Anaheim’s man of the moment continued his hot streak with two more points against Edmonton in Game One and he could be the difference maker once again. The Ducks captain is, and has been for quite some time, their main man and he will be quietly confident of extending his own individual scoring streak.
With four goals and three assists in the playoffs, Getzlaf is up there with the best players in the business. Only a couple of men have managed to net more goals in the postseason this year and he will be very difficult to stop if he is in the mood. If he keeps his temper under control, Getzlaf might be the man to lead Anaheim to victory.
Simply put, Anaheim can’t afford to lose. If they level the series up, you’d fancy Anaheim to push on and at least keep the series level after four matches but it may be a step too far if Edmonton go two up. For the Oilers, this could be the decisive match – win and they may move closer to the Stanley Cup finals.
OILERS 4-3 DUCKS