The Edmonton Oilers have staked their way to a 6-3 record in the playoffs with very little production from their second line. In fact, Milan Lucic, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Jordan Eberle don’t have an even strength goal in the series.
Eberle is coming off a rough outing in Sunday’s 6-3 loss to Anaheim. He has just two assists in nine post-season games.
“I’m an offensive guy. I’m my own worst critic. I want to be putting the puck in the net. You can be great defensively and do good board work and all that, but I’m a goal scorer,” said Jordan Eberle. “I need to get a little grittier, find a way to jump in and find some loose pucks around the net.”
“Those checking skills, those board works skills, the responsibility skills have improved and we need them to stay in his game,” said head coach Todd McLellan. “But there’s the other side of the puck. We don’t want him to play a high-risk, low-reward game. We want him to play with a little bit of a risk and a high-reward game. He has to find the holes, hit the holes at the right time, find secondary opportunities in and around the blue paint. Power play he has to execute better.”
Predictably, the Oilers haven’t done well on face-offs against the Ducks. Anaheim was number one on draws in the regular season while the Oilers were last. In this series, the Ducks have won 59.5% of the face-offs.
“We have to better as centremen,” said Mark Letestu. “But face-offs have to become a team thing. Your wingers have to get bumps inside. Your D have to get hold-ups. They have to win pucks that are 50-50 pucks.”
Captain Connor McDavid is a finalist for the Ted Lindsay Award along with Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby and San Jose’s Brent Burns. The Ted Lindsay is given to the NHL’s most outstanding player as voted by members of the NHL Players Association.
The Oilers lead the Ducks 2-1 in the best-of-seven. Game four is Wednesday at Roger Place. Catch the action on 630 CHED with the Face-off Show at 6pm. The game starts at 8pm. (jrw)