EDMONTON, Alberta – The Ducks may contemplate some changes for Game 3 as they’re attempting to get back in the best-of-7 Western Conference semifinals against the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday night at Rogers Place.
Sami Vatanen has yet to return to the defense corps since Game 1 of the first round against Calgary but he took part in the optional morning skate, occasionally winding up and taking slap shots. Vatanen has been dealing with an unspecified upper-body injury.
Korbinian Holzer played in the Game 2 loss to the Oilers, with his holding penalty being cashed in on a second-period goal by Edmonton’s Patrick Maroon. Holzer will draw in again if Vatanen is unable to go as Kevin Bieksa (lower body) is expected to miss a second straight game.
The Ducks recalled wingers Ondrej Kase and Nic Kerdiles from San Diego (AHL) on Saturday and Ducks coach Randy Carlyle has either available for usage. Nick Ritchie was a late Game 2 scratch because of flu-like symptoms. Ritchie did skate in the morning but wasn’t sure if would be in the lineup.
“Wasn’t feeling very good,” Ritchie said about sitting out Friday. “Felt that I wasn’t ready to play at that time. … I felt fine this morning. I guess we’ll see when the game comes.”
Kase and Kerdiles were playing with the San Diego Gulls in their Calder Cup playoff series against the Ontario Reign. Kase did make his NHL playoff debut in Game 1 against Calgary when Ritchie had to sit out because of a suspension.
“Kase is a skilled player,” Carlyle said. “He was with us for a better part of the year. He’s kind of like the Energizer bunny out there. He can make plays in small areas. He can score goals.
“He’s an energized young hockey player that’s getting his feet wet in the NHL.”
The Ducks are obviously looking for a different result in Game 3 but they’re planning to go about the game in a similar manner.
“You don’t change the effort,” Carlyle said. “We increase the effort. It’s just we’re looking for results. It’s a results-driven business we’re in. They scored two, we scored one. There’s a good feeling in our group because of the work ethic we’ve provided, the number of chances that we created.
“Now we know we’re going to come into a somewhat hostile environment and that’s what’s going to be expected.”
John Gibson (3-2, 2.76 GAA, .915 SV%) came off the ice first and appears to be the Game 3 starter in goal. Gibson has allowed six goals on 54 shots in the two games for an .889 save percentage.
Here is the projected lineup for the Ducks:
Rickard Rakell-Ryan Getzlaf-Patrick Eaves
Andrew Cogliano-Ryan Kesler-Jakob Silfverberg
Ondrej Kase/Nick Ritchie-Antoine Vermette-Corey Perry
Chris Wagner/Nic Kerdiles-Nate Thompson-Logan Shaw
Cam Fowler-Brandon Montour
Hampus Lindholm-Josh Manson
Shea Theodore-Sami Vatanen/Korbinian Holzer
Halfway to a potential berth in the conference finals, the Oilers are looking at an opportunity to take a commanding 3-0 series lead after capturing the first two games in Anaheim.
Cam Talbot (6-2, 2.03 GAA, .934 SV%) was the Game 2 star as he made 39 saves in the 2-1 win. Talbot already has two shutouts this postseason and has stopped 72 of the 76 shots he has faced.
“He’s been very steady and gives us a lot of confidence,” Edmonton center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins said. “At the same time, we want to definitely be better for him tonight and put a lot more pressure on t heir goalie.”
Talbot said he has dealt with a few bumps from the Ducks around his net but added that it comes to be expected in the playoffs, especially when going against a desperate team.
“I just try to keep playing my game,” Talbot sad. “Try to maintain my depth in net. Not letting them they push me back. Just try and get to the top of that blue line any time I can.
“Anytime they give me a bump in there, hopefully the refs will see that. But I’m just going to try to keep getting out, getting in my lanes and hopefully find the most pucks.”
The Ducks have talked about getting more in Talbot’s eyesight as they’ve felt the goalie has been able to see too many pucks coming his way. They threw 85 pucks his way in Game 2 but misfired on 27 attempts and had 18 blocked in addition to the 40 that Talbot faced.
“The identity of our team is when we start doing those things, we’re able to wear teams down,” Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler said. “You saw it in the third period. We had a lot of time in their own end. So if you continue with that formula, you expect at some point something’s going to break.
“Unfortunately it didn’t in Game 2. There’s no reason to get discouraged with that. If we continue with that mentality, you have to have a little bit of patience when it comes to this time of the year. We have a lot of guys in here that have done this before and we understand that if we continue to do that, then hopefully things will turn in our favor.”
Here is the projected lineup for the Oilers:
Patrick Maroon-Connor McDavid-Leon Draisaitl
Milan Lucic-Ryan Nugent-Hopkins-Jordan Eberle
Drake Caggiula-Mark Letestu-Zack Kassian
Benoit Pouliot-David Deshanais-Anton Slepyshev
Oscar Klefbom-Adam Larsson
Andrej Sekera-Kris Russell
Darnell Nurse-Matt Benning
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