First look at the Ducks-Oilers playoff series

Oilers center Connor McDavid skates with the puck during Edmonton’s series-clinching victory over the Sharks in San Jose on Saturday.
(Ezra Shaw / Getty Images)

The villain roles are set.

There is the star player, Connor McDavid. The former teammate, Patrick Maroon, and the nemesis, Leon Draisaitl.

The upstart Edmonton Oilers also brim with confidence after their first playoff series win since 2006 — against the Ducks.

The Ducks and Oilers staged a wonderfully entertaining regular-season series, and this promises to be no different.

Ducks offense vs. Oilers defense

The Ducks typically control possession with Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan Kesler, Antoine Vermette and Nate Thompson as strong faceoff men. Anaheim’s even-strength scoring prevailed in the first round.

Edmonton ranked eighth in goals against in the regular season. Defenseman Kris Russell led the NHL with 213 blocked shots and McDavid and Draisaitl were fifth and sixth, respectively, in takeaways.


Ducks defense vs. Oilers offense

The Ducks kept their goals against down despite a banged-up defense in the first round, although they were prone to receiving the attack for stretches. Kesler, a Selke Trophy finalist as best defensive forward, spearheads a line that will see a lot of McDavid.

McDavid, 20, was the third-youngest player in NHL history to win a scoring title. Draisaitl scored six goals in five regular-season games against the Ducks, including two overtime goals.

But Edmonton also had nine players score in the first round.


John Gibson recovered from a shaky spell in the first round and reasserted himself as the Ducks’ No.1 goalie. Jonathan Bernier remains a capable option.

Edmonton’s Cam Talbot was a workhorse who appeared in an NHL-high 73 games in the regular season and won a franchise-record 42 games. He shut out San Jose twice.

Special teams

The Ducks went three for 11 on the power play in the first two games of the first round, then got only two tries the rest of the series. Their penalty kill (10 for 16) was a sore spot.

The Oilers’ power play, ranked fifth in the regular season, scored only two goals in the first round. Their penalty kill had a four-goal lapse in Game 4, but was otherwise solid.

Home ice

The Ducks are 13-0-1 in their last 14 games at Honda Center, a cozy barn for them and an unwelcome venue for opponents.

Oilers fans have clamored for the playoffs for more than a decade, and their passion fills new Rogers Place.