OILERS (13-25-5) at DUCKS (29-8-5)
TV: SNET-W, SNET-EDM; FS-W
Last 10: Edmonton 2-6-2; Anaheim 9-1-0
Season series: Anaheim and Edmonton play the second of a five-game season series tonight at Honda Center. This season marks the first time these two teams have played more than four games in a regular season since the 1998-99 campaign, when the clubs faced each other five times (2-3-0 record for Anaheim). The Ducks have won a franchise-tying five consecutive games vs. the Oilers, most recently a 3-2 victory on Dec. 15 at Honda Center. Anaheim owns a 43-34-6 all-time record vs. Edmonton, including a 23-16-3 mark at Honda Center. Following tonight's game, the season series will feature one additional game in Anaheim on Apr. 2 and two games in Edmonton on Mar. 28 and Apr. 6.
Big story: The Pacific Division-leading Ducks continue a four-game homestand vs. Edmonton tonight at Honda Center. The current homestand is the club's longest since playing five straight at Honda Center from Oct. 10-20. Anaheim's 29-8-5 start is its best ever record through 42 games. The Ducks have won 11 of their last 12 games (11-1-0), a stretch that has only been accomplished one other time in team history (Feb. 5-Mar. 3, 2008, also 11-1-0). Anaheim was the first team to win 10 in a row since Pittsburgh (15) from Mar. 2-30, 2013 and just the third team from the Western Conference to win 10 straight since the 2005-06 season (start of the shootout era), joining Chicago (11) in 2012-13 and San Jose (11) in 2007-08. Anaheim, which has points in 14 of the last 15 games (12-1-2), is 9-1-2 vs. the Pacific Division and a league-leading 15-3-2 (.800 points %) vs. the Western Conference. Following tonight's game, the homestand will continue with visits from Vancouver (Jan. 5) and Boston (Jan. 7).
Ducks: Like the Oilers, Anaheim is coming off a game against the Sharks. But the Ducks' results were a lot better - they routed their Northern California rivals 6-3 on New Year's Eve to improve to 15-0-2 at Honda Center, where Anaheim has yet to lose in regulation.
"We've had good success at home and we love playing in this building in front of our fans," said head coach Bruce Boudreau. "We loved it the other night, especially, when [our fans] were rowdy and [the arena] was full. It's amazing how much energy that gives to the players."
The Ducks have already completed 61% of their road schedule with a league-leading 25 games and have no more travel to the Eastern Time Zone this season. In addition, the Ducks have only four games in the Central Time Zone (Jan. 9 at NSH, Jan. 17 at CHI, Jan. 18 at STL, Feb. 8 at NSH) of the 16 remaining on the road schedule.
No team in the league is better at home than the Ducks, who have yet to lose in regulation at Honda Center (15-0-2). Anaheim is only the third NHL team in 25 years to start a season with a home standings point streak of 17 games or more. The two others are San Jose (20-0-2 in 2008-09) and Calgary (unbeaten streak of 14-0-3 in 1988-89). The Ducks’ streak is also their longest home standings point streak in club history at any point during a season (previous best was 14 games). (Elias Sports Bureau).
“We all know home is where we want to feel comfortable,” said Teemu Selanne. “We want to make it a hard place to play. It’s all about confidence. To play well at home gives you a lot of confidence.”
Oilers: There wasn't a whole lot for coach Dallas Eakins to like about his team's performance in San Jose. The Oilers were outshot 17-7 in the first period and 36-24 for the game, and they trailed 4-0 in the second period before Nail Yakupov's goal enabled Edmonton to avoid being shut out.
Though this is the second half of a back-to-back, the top line of Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and David Perron figures to come out with plenty of fire. Eakins benched them for a stretch in the second period.
"They weren't doing anything. We're not a deep enough team to have the luxury of them having an off night," he said.
"I talked to the line in between periods and what my concerns were I let them know how important they were to our team's success and then I let them get back out there."
Who's hot: Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller owns a club-record eight straight victories (9-0-0), becoming the first NHL goaltender to win nine-or-more consecutive starts since Ray Emery with 10 from Jan. 20-Mar. 6, 2013. Hiller finished the month of December leading the league in wins (9-0-1), while also posting a 1.96 GAA and .929 SV% in 10 games. Saku Koivu has three goals and six points in Anaheim's past three games, and Corey Perry has six assists in the Ducks' past five games. ... Yakupov had the Oilers' lone goal and saw 15:53 of ice time, the most he's had since Dec. 10.
Injury report: Anaheim is missing goaltender Viktor Fasth (lower body) and defensemen Sheldon Souray (wrist) and Luca Sbisa (hand). ... The Oilers are without center Mark Arcobello (ribs), forward Ryan Jones (head) and defensemen Corey Potter (groin) and Philip Larsen (illness).
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