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Oilers-Ducks Game 4 Preview

2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs Preview: Pacific Division 2nd Round Dinur/via Flickr

Anaheim looking to tie series, Edmonton looking for 3-1 series lead

NHL

The Anaheim Ducks and Edmonton will face-off tonight in a pivotal Game 4 of their second round series. The Ducks are looking to tie the series at 2-2, while the Oilers will try to take a commanding 3-1 series lead. If Game 3 was any indication, tonight’s game will be a back-and-forth affair. Here is your Game 4 preview.

GAME 3 RECAP

Anaheim got back into the series with a 6-3 win in Game 3 on Sunday night in Edmonton. The Oilers had taken the first two games in Orange County, 5-3 and 2-1, respectively.

The Ducks were led by forward Jakob Silfverberg, who had two goals and an assist in the victory. Silfverberg has four goals and five points in the three games of the series, so far.

Captain Ryan Getzlaf continued his recent red-hot play, collecting a goal and an assist in Game 3. Getzlaf leads Anaheim in scoring with nine points in seven game so far this postseason.

While the score may suggest so, it was not an easy game for the Ducks. They went up 3-0 early, only to see Edmonton come back and tie the game 3-3. However, Chris Wagner’s goal in the second period, 48 seconds after the Oilers tied the game, would prove to be the game-winner.

Game 3 was a tough one for Edmonton goalie Cam Talbot. Talbot allowed the six goals on just 28 shots, while his counterpart, John Gibson, allowed three goals on 27 shots.

KEYS FOR DUCKS IN GAME 4

As mentioned previously, the Ducks will be looking to tie the series up tonight. They may have to do it without one of their top wingers, though. Right wing Patrick Eaves is doubtful for tonight’s game with a lower-body injury.

Eaves was seen with a boot on his foot after Game 3, but, as expected, Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle has been mum on his winger’s status. The final word will come when the scratches are announced prior to puck drop.

Should Eaves not be in the lineup, we may see a reunion, of sorts. Corey Perry is expected to take Eaves’ spot on the top line if the 33-year-old can’t play. If that happens, Perry would be reunited with longtime linemate Ryan Getzlaf. Perry and Getzlaf have not played much together this season after being on the same line ever since they came into the league in 2005-06 season.

If they are on the same line and can rekindle some of the magic they’ve had in the past, that may spell trouble for the Oilers.

We may also see forward Ondrej Kase back in the lineup in Game 4. Kase hasn’t played since Game 1 of Anaheim’s previous series. He was on a line with Antoine Vermette and Nick Ritchie at the team’s practice yesterday.

The best way for the Ducks to even the series is to have a repeat start and finish of what they did in Game 3. Anaheim was up 3-0 with just over eight minutes left in the first period. If the Ducks can get ahead early, it will help Carlyle play the match up game he loves to play.

Anaheim also had a strong third period, outshooting Edmonton 12-4 and outscoring them 2-0. If they can repeat that tonight, this series has a good chance of going back to Orange County even at 2-2. And, for what it’s worth, history says they will win Game 4.

According to the NHL’s media site, the Ducks are 17-9 all-time in Game 4s. It is the game in which they have the best winning percentage.

KEYS FOR OILERS IN GAME 4

For Edmonton, their best chance to go up 3-1 in the series is to push the pace. When the Oilers are skating and playing with speed, they are a difficult team to stop. They’ve given the Ducks fits various times in the series with their speed.

They will also need a bounce back performance from Talbot. As mentioned earlier, Anaheim only needed 28 shots to beat Talbot six times. It was a drop off for the 29-year-old, who stopped 39 of 40 shots in Game 2. Edmonton will need Game 2 Talbot if they want to win Game 4.

As a team, they’ve done well in bouncing back. The Oilers were 5-2-1 during the regular season in games after they allowed five or more goals, per the NHL media site. They rebounded from a 7-0 loss in Game 4 of their previous series against the San Jose Sharks to win four in a row. Edmonton needs to do that again tonight.

The Oilers also can’t have a repeat performance of their Game 3 third period. Edmonton was outshot 12-4 in the third Sunday night, despite being the team that was down going into the final period. If the Oilers don’t start on time, they could be in trouble early like they were in the last game.

A little bit more, offensively, from Leon Draisaitl won’t hurt, either. After collecting four points in Game 1, Draisaitl has picked up only one point in the last two games. If he can be dangerous in Game 4, Edmonton has a good chance of winning.

WHAT TO EXPECT

It’s been an exciting three games, so far, in this series and tonight should be no different. I expect the Oilers to feed off an energized home crowd and come out flying in the first period. The Ducks will need to weather the first five, ten minutes of the game.

Then again, if Anaheim has a start like they had in Game 3, they won’t have much of a storm to weather. I expect Talbot to be better,though, as well as Gibson. With how the last game went, don’t be surprised if it’s a goaltender’s duel tonight.

Whether its a goaltender’s duel or a shootout, Game 4 will be some fun playoff hockey so don’t miss it (10:00 PM ET, NBCSN, TVAS, SN).