After narrowly missing out on two point in New Jersey (thanks a lot, goal posts and Martin Brodeur), the Ducks need to get back to their winning ways today in Sunrise, FL (where the hell is that, exactly?). Despite picking up points in every game on this road trip, Anaheim is still five points out of the 8th spot. They still have five teams in front of them.
Simply put: The road trip has been great so far, but the Ducks are only one point better in the playoff chase today than they were when the trip began. They absolutely need two points tonight.
In terms of team news, Bobby Ryan skated yesterday without any difficulty after awkwardly falling into the boards at the end of the second period against the Devils. I haven't seen any reported line rushes over the past few games, so it's not clear whether Devante Smith-Pelly will draw back into the lineup or not. With Bobby coming off an inury, and DSP needing (and deserving) to draw back into the lineup, here's what I'd like to see for today's game:
I think Bobby could use some lighter minutes while he recovers and while I hesitate to break up that third line, Matt Beleskey surely deserves to be rewarded for his strong play of late by moving up the lineup.
The Ducks need two points tonight to stay in the chase. There's no gray area at all regarding that.