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Fri, Jan 13, 2012 - 9:30 PM ET
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The Edmonton Oilers were struggling prior to losing their lone All-Star and their leading scorer to injury.

It may not get any easier facing the Anaheim Ducks.

Edmonton looks to avoid an eighth straight home loss to Anaheim when the teams meet Friday night.

With a nucleus of Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and rookie Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, the Oilers got off to a surprising 8-2-2 start and seemed poised to contend for a playoff spot in the Western Conference.

They've quickly slipped toward the bottom of the standings, though, and haven't won back-to-back games since Nov. 22 and 25.

Nugent-Hopkins - named to the All-Star team Thursday - hasn't played since suffering a shoulder injury in a win over Chicago on Nov. 19.

"It's tough having to watch and not be able to go out there and play and help the guys out," Nugent-Hopkins told the team's official website. "I'm going to get all the recovery I can. It's making progress and it's feeling a lot better, so hopefully I can get better sooner rather than later."

Eberle, meanwhile, is expected to miss two to three weeks with a knee injury. He leads the team with 17 goals and 26 assists and sat out his first game Wednesday – a 2-1 overtime loss to New Jersey.

Hall had an assist but had his four-game goal-scoring streak snapped as Edmonton dropped its fourth straight.

"You don't want to be doing cartwheels over getting a point," said coach Tom Renney, whose team is 2-10-1 since Dec. 10. "You want to get two, that's what we are all here to do. We played a solid game and didn't give up too much. The chances were very even.''

The Oilers (16-22-4) have been outscored 25-13 in dropping the last seven meetings in Edmonton against the Ducks, who had their three-game winning streak snapped with a 1-0 overtime loss to Calgary on Thursday.

Anaheim, which has won eight of the last nine meetings overall, is one of two teams – conference-worst Columbus is the other – sitting below the Oilers in the standings.

"We played well enough to get two points, but we got one," forward Saku Koivu said. "When you look at the situation where we are, in games like this, we can't afford to lose that one point.''

The Ducks (13-22-7) dropped to 6-9-3 under coach Bruce Boudreau, who replaced the fired Randy Carlyle on Dec. 1.

"It's a game of inches and it could have gone either way, but we didn't win it. We got a point, but at this stage of the game, I think we need two,'' Boudreau said.

For as much as Anaheim has struggled, Thursday marked the first time it had been shut out since a 5-0 loss at Detroit on Nov. 5.

Boudreau said before the game Jeff Deslauriers would get the start in net, but Jonas Hiller, who made 18 saves, got the last-minute nod.

It's unclear who will start Friday, but Hiller is 5-0-0 with a 2.01 goals-against average lifetime in Edmonton.

Tagged: Oilers, Ducks

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