Ducks-Oilers Preview

The Edmonton Oilers' anemic power play is unlikely to get a boost against one of the NHL's best penalty killing teams.

Then there's the matter of Edmonton's woeful history against the Anaheim Ducks.

The slumping Oilers have lost three in a row heading into Thursday night's division game against the Ducks, who remain on the road after beating the hottest home team in the league.

The Oilers (15-20-3) opened a six-game homestand with a 5-2 loss to Los Angeles on Tuesday, ending a seven-game winning streak at Rexall Place. The Kings scored on Cam Talbot three times in 96 seconds early in the second period to make it 3-0.

"Things were going pretty well for us, we were doing a lot of things we wanted to do against a real good team," said Edmonton coach Todd McLellan. "And in a matter of a minute and a half, the bottom falls out on us for a number of reasons. That was disappointing."

The Oilers have been outscored 26-12 while going 1-5-1 since Dec. 15. This follows a season-high six-game winning streak during which they outscored opponents 22-15.

Taylor Hall, who has a team-high 15 goals, has not scored in his last six games.

Worse, their power play has been woeful. The Oilers are 0 for 10 in their last 16 games and 3 for 35 over their past 14.

"The thing for us is, you want to be able to generate momentum," Edmonton forward Jordan Eberle told the team's official website. "We don't want to create momentum for the other team by giving them opportunities or just chasing the puck back and forth and just wasting energy."

Edmonton's limp power play will meet one of the NHL's best penalty killing units, as the Ducks rank near the top of the league with an 87.7 percent success rate.

The Oilers have struggled mightily in the series but rallied to beat the Ducks 4-3 in overtime on Nov. 11, the first of five scheduled meetings between the Pacific Division rivals. It snapped a six-game losing streak in Anaheim for the Oilers and was the first time in 10 trips there they scored more than two goals.

Anaheim has been dominating the series, winning 21 of the past 26 meetings, and the Oilers have not won consecutive matchups since 2007.

The Ducks (14-15-6) are coming off a 1-0 win over Calgary on Tuesday that snapped the Flames' franchise-record 11-game home winning streak. John Gibson made 14 saves, half of them in the final period, to post his third shutout of the season.

"We had a game plan to try to clog up the neutral zone, try to slow them down. We did a pretty good job of it," the 22-year-old goaltender said.

Anaheim, in the midst of a three-game road trip, is 10-0-1 this season when leading after two periods. The Ducks have won two in a row overall after being outscored 17-7 during a 1-3-1 stretch.

Edmonton defenseman Brandon Davidson could return to the ice after missing the past four games with a rib injury.


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