This is the first of two meetings against the Buffalo
Bottom feeders Sabres this season. The last time the Ducks saw this team was February 29, 2012 at Honda center in a 2-0 shutout in favor of Ryan Miller. However, this Buffalo team is in full rebuild mode, trading away one of their most potent scorer and team captain, Thomas Vanek, to the New York Islanders for Matt Moulson, a 2014 1st-round pick and a 2015 2nd-round pick.
Keys to the Game: On paper this game looks like an easy win for the Ducks, but considering the team's occasional tendency to play down to their opponent this game could get interesting. [Ed. Note: Occasional?- Kyle] Ryan Miller is still a great goalie, posting a .919 save percentage behind a defense that has him at 3.03 Goals Against Average. The Ducks will have to get a few past Miller if they expect to win this game.
Maybe the Ducks could score a power play goal ... PLEASE!!!! Scoring only four goals on 55 opportunities, the Ducks have the worst power play in the universe with a 7.3 percent conversion rate on the season. But wait, there's more. The Ducks have an even worse power play on the road – a 6.2 percent conversion rate, only better than the Buffalo Sabres and Florida Panthers. If this power play can get going, wins will come much easier to this already dangerous Anaheim team.
For Buffalo, its key is to attempt to get a win behind a stellar performance from Ryan Miller. Aside from this, Buffalo should be aiming for that No. 1 draft pick in 2014.
What Can We Learn From This Game: For starters, this game will tell us if the Ducks can get over their mental challenges against a team that they should beat. The Ducks have proven that they can still compete despite having an entire starting-lineup worth of injuries.
Anaheim really needs to prove that their power play can start clicking again. Without the power play, the Ducks are a fairly dangerous team, but with it, they can arguably be the most dangerous team in the league.
One thing we know for sure; the Ducks could win the president's trophy and still be out of the top five on the NHL power rankings.
Fearless Prediction: Fights everywhere!!!! Buffalo gets frustrated after losing their previous eight home games. Ryan Miller fights whoever is in net (preferably Frederick Anderson for entertainment value). The NHL mistakes the game for Washington Capitals versus Philadelphia Flyers.