After racing into a two-nil series lead, the Edmonton Oilers have been pegged back in recent games. Anaheim deserve plenty of credit for the way they’ve bounced back after losing the first two matches of the series and the Ducks are certainly in the ascendency right now. But it would be foolish to write the Oilers off just yet; they may be saving something special for the remainder of the series.
The Oilers will need to be at their brilliant best to stop Anaheim from claiming their third win in a row on Saturday; momentum tends to prove crucial in the postseason. Edmonton have managed to score at least twice in all four playoff games against the Ducks and the likes of Conor McDavid will be central to their aspirations of regaining a series lead.
Let’s be honest, that overtime defeat in Game 4 was a sickener for Edmonton fans and now the Oilers have no option but to regroup and go all out for the win. If they secure another important road win this weekend, Edmonton will have home advantage in Game 6.
KEY MAN: Milan Lucic. When Edmonton moved for the former Los Angeles Kings star during the offseason, it was for times like this. The Oilers need their big-game players to step up to the plate and Lucic, who has been playing well as of late, could be the man to provide some welcome assistance to McDavid in attack.
During the regular campaign, Lucic notched 50 points in 82 games – scoring 23 goals whilst assisting 27 more. If his line gets hot, Anaheim will need to combat that; especially as Lucic is capable of turning a game on its head in a brief moment.
Anaheim are playing with real vigour right now and an early goal for the Ducks could spell curtains for Edmonton. Going two-nil down seemed to spark Anaheim into life in this series but the Ducks will know that it is far from over. Anaheim’s struggles on defense could play into Edmonton’s hands if they aren’t careful.
The Ducks have had very few problems offensively this season and Ryan Getzlaf will be key to their chances of notching a third straight win. If Anaheim can bully Edmonton on offense, that might just determine who comes out on top. The Canadian outfit need to stay firm and aggressive on defense, especially against Anaheim’s top line.
KEY MAN: Ryan Getzlaf. Once again, Getzlaf was the man of the moment for Anaheim in the fourth game of the series as he led the Ducks to an overtime triumph. He has now recorded eight points (four goals, four assists) through the first four games of the series and it would take a brave man to back against Getzlaf adding to his tally on Saturday.
In terms of offensive talent in the National Hockey league, Getzlaf is up there with the best in the business. Anaheim’s main man has been by far and away the most consistent player throughout the series so far and the Ducks will be relying on their star center to continue his fine form in Game 5.
A difficult contest to call: While Anaheim have momentum, Edmonton know that victory in Game 5 could make all the difference ahead of the final couple of contests. The Oilers know that, with McDavid and Lucic, they have two serious dangers on the roster and an early goal might swing it Edmonton’s way. It will be close (it might even go to overtime) but the Canadian outfit will be keen to edge it.
OILERS 3-2 DUCKS