The Anaheim Ducks are one of the better ‘under’ teams in the NHL at 45-29 and the ‘under’ is 4-1 in their last five meetings with the Oilers. Go ‘under’ again in this matchup of eliminated teams on Sunday night at Honda Center.
Do not look for many fireworks in one of the NHL matchups Sunday night with the Edmonton Oilers (31-38-9 overall, 13-21-4 away) pay a visit to Anaheim Ducks (33-34-11 overall, 21-17-2 home) at the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA at 8:00 ET.
This game pits two teams that have been eliminated from playoff contention. The Ducks never recovered from a terrible start to this season, leading to the firing of Coach Randy Carlyle in favor of Bruce Boudreau. Anaheim finds itself in last place in the Pacific Division with 77 points and will be out of the playoffs for the second time in three seasons.
The Ducks are coming off of a 4-0 shutout loss in Phoenix Saturday as the offense sputtered again, and while the defense played well enough allowing only 29 shots on goal, backup goaltender Jeff Deslauriers was only able to stop 25 of them. That marked the second loss in three games for Anaheim where none of the games exceeded five total goals, as a 3-1 win over the San Jose Sharks was sandwiched between that loss and a 3-2 loss to the Boston Bruins.
That brings the ‘under’ to a sparkling 45-29-4, 60.8 percent against the NHL odds in all Anaheim games this season, and given that all four pushes had a posted total of 5, the ‘under’ would actually be 49-29, 62.8 percent against today’s posted total!
The Oilers are in last place in the Northwest Division with 71 points, giving them the second fewest points in the NHL, 10 points ahead of the dismal Columbus Blue Jackets. Unfortunately, Edmonton is becoming accustomed to missing out on the post-season, as this marks the sixth straight year that it has missed the playoffs.
The ‘under’ is 3-1-1 in the last five Edmonton games overall and it would be 4-1 vs. today’s total. Furthermore, the ‘under’ is 4-1 in the last five head-to-head meetings between these teams, and the lone ‘over’ came because the Ducks scored an empty-net goal with a little over 1:00 remaining in a 4-2 win on March 5th.
We are looking for yet another ‘under’ in this series on Sunday night.
The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 5½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -119.
Anaheim starting goaltender Jonas Hiller received a needed night off last night after starting 37 of the previous 38 games. His backup Deslauriers showed his rustiness in posting just a .862 save percentage in the game, but Hiller is expected to be back in net tonight. Hiller has a .912 save percentage for the season, so if Anaheim can play as well defensively in front of him as they did last night and allow around 29 shots again, do not expect the Oilers to score many goals.
Remember also that Hiller has sparkled vs. Edmonton since entering the NHL, going 9.-2 with an excellent 1.96 GAA in his 11 starts against the Oilers.
Another fine effort by Hiller still would not guarantee victory though, as the Ducks are ranked just 24th in the NHL in scoring at 2.45 goals per game. That combination of a challenged offense and good goaltending tends to lead to a lot of ‘unders’ and that has indeed been the case for Anaheim this season.
Given that the Oilers have scored two goals or less in four of their last five games with the only exception coming vs. the defensively challenged Blue Jackets, look for the recent history of low-scoring games between these teams to continue for at least one more game.
NHL Pick: Oilers, Ducks ‘under’ 5½ (-119)