A dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive

For­mer Ducks forward Ma­roon on the other side of a Game 7 with Oil­ers

Cape Breton Post - - Sports - BY DONNA SPENCER

Patrick Ma­roon would like noth­ing more than to ex­tend his for­mer team’s Game 7 woes an­other year.

The Ana­heim Ducks traded Ma­roon to the Ed­mon­ton Oil­ers at the 2016 trade dead­line for a fourth-round draft pick and a prospect.

The Ducks even swal­lowed a quar­ter of his cap hit for two sea­sons to send him out the door, ac­cord­ing to CapFriendly.com.

The 29-year-old winger doesn’t re­gret land­ing in Ed­mon­ton, but when the only NHL team you’ve played for says your ser­vices are no longer re­quired, there’s an el­e­ment of “I’ll show you” when you face it in a high-stakes game.

And the stakes are strato­spheric tonight in Ana­heim, where the win­ner ad­vances to the NHL’s Western Con­fer­ence fi­nal against the Nashville Preda­tors.

“This would be a good feel­ing for me,” Ma­roon said Tues­day in Ed­mon­ton.

“I don’t know how to say it in a good way, but this would be ... it would (mean) noth­ing more than to win this Game 7. I would love this right now.”

The Ducks were elim­i­nated from the play­offs each of the last four years by los­ing a Game 7 at home.

Ma­roon felt that dis­ap­point­ment in 2015, when Ana­heim was ousted in the con­fer­ence fi­nal by the Chicago Black­hawks, and in 2014 when they were beaten in the sec­ond round by Los An­ge­les.

“I got traded from a team that was first in the divi­sion last year and a con­tender for the Stan­ley Cup,” Ma­roon said.

“When you go from los­ing one game to go to the Stan­ley Cup fi­nals to be­ing traded the fol­low­ing year it’s kind of dev­as­tat­ing. That’s part of the busi­ness. You never know when you’re safe, you never know when it’s your time to go.”

The six-foot-three, 227-pound left-winger isn’t com­plain­ing about where he went. He played more min­utes in Ed­mon­ton where he posted ca­reer num­bers of 27 goals and 15 as­sists in 81 games.

He’s play­ing on the top line along­side cen­tre and cap­tain Con­nor McDavid. In six play­off games against his for­mer team, Ma­roon has two goals and five as­sists.

Ed­mon­ton gen­eral man­ager Peter Chiarelli and head coach Todd McLellan “gave me an op­por­tu­nity to ex­cel my game and gave me an op­por­tu­nity to play with some of the best play­ers and play a con­sis­tent role,” Ma­roon said.

The se­cret to han­dling a Game 7 is to stay calm and en­joy it, Ma­roon said.

“This will prob­a­bly be some of the big­gest games some of these guys played,” he said. “Ob­vi­ously there’s go­ing to be nerves, but don’t panic.

“There’s noth­ing bet­ter than go­ing into a Game 7, the ex­cite­ment and what’s at stake.”

Given the suc­cess of split­ting up McDavid and winger Leon Drai­saitl in Sun­day’s 7-1 win,

ex­pect the Oil­ers to con­tinue with Drai­saitl cen­tring Ed­mon­ton’s sec­ond line.

The 21-year-old Ger­man scored a hat trick and as­sisted on two goals Sun­day for a to­tal of five goals and eight as­sists against the Ducks this se­ries.

That move also shifts cen­tre Ryan Nu­gent-Hop­kins and winger Jor­dan Eberle to Ed­mon­ton’s third line, where McLellan has a bet­ter chance of keep­ing them away from Ana­heim’s best check­ers.

Both play­ers have yet to score in the post-sea­son.

“It’s those third and fourth lines that can make a huge dif­fer­ence in a game like this and we’ll be look­ing to ours to have an im­pact,” McLellan said.

CP PHOTO

Ed­mon­ton Oil­ers left wing Patrick Ma­roon cel­e­brates af­ter scor­ing against the Ana­heim Ducks dur­ing Game 2 of a sec­ond-round NHL Stan­ley Cup play­off se­ries in Ana­heim, Calif. on April 28.

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