Oh snap Anaheim...Sbisa is back skating on the ice. He should be good to go by next week. Souray is still out for a while. Fasth is nearing return. Oh, and I can't forget to mention that GM Bob Murray has revealed that "there's not a chance in hell" that Jonas Hiller will be dealt. What the hell? Let the Girardi trade rumors and cap speculations commence. But until then, don't forget, we have bigger Canucks to fry.
The Vancouver Canucks will be coming into the Honda Center after a vicious game and bitter 0-1 shutout loss against our most hated cross-town rivals the Kings. They will be out to get vengeance from the last time the two teams faced off (with the Anaheim Ducks taking it 4-3 in OT).
Remember this last time when Corey Perry scored that huge overtime goal with 1.3 seconds left? In case you want to relive it again. And again.
This was this game when the Honda Center erupted with chants of "Let's Go Ducks" in the dying minutes of overtime. It was awesome. And you would have thought it was a playoff game. Well, this is where the Canucks are coming to play...and Wednesday night is the night that the Ducks are fighting to make history with Hiller's streak and the Ducks' home record on the line.
Keys to the Game: Don't be deceived by the recent loss record of the opponents; injury-riddled Canucks are beginning to get healthy, thereby pulling together and playing some challenging hockey. Their forecheck looks much stronger and giving their opponents a difficult time by pounding hard and winning battles along the boards to create some dangerous offensive opportunities. They are riding on pretty some pretty great goaltending by back-up netminder Eddie Lack, though Roberto Luongo could be back any day now.
Let's hope that they have learned from their mistakes and continue with the decent starts the Ducks have had the past two games. The last time the Ducks faced the Canucks, Anaheim dug themselves in a hole by giving up two power play goals in the first period. Special teams are bound to come into play this game, just as it did last time. And Anaheim is still looking for consistency in the PP. But good news--according to the latest reports, Captain Getzlaf (foot) should be good to go Wednesday night.
Ryan Getzlaf (foot) said he felt good stopping and starting in hard practice and should be ready for tomorrow against Canucks.— Eric Stephens (@icemancometh) January 14, 2014
The timing is right as his offensive prowess will be needed particularly in the PP and PK against Vancouver and the coming opponents.
Offensively, the Ducks need to keep it simple...just get the puck through the neutral zone as quickly as possible and look to catch the Canucks unawares on the odd-man rushes. The Canucks are taking a liking to grinding it out along the boards, so it's essential for the Ducks to be more aggressive on the dumps. Most of the close games are attributed to Lack, who has stood on his head many of nights to keep the Canucks in the game; if Lack is back in, the Ducks have crash the net and exploit the rebounds that he does let out.
As witnessed by this season's win record, the Ducks have a pretty stacked team, rolling with four lines. There is bound to be a mismatch and that's when depth scoring comes in. If not PPG, the Ducks need to depend on the other lines to outplay, outskate, out-hustle, and out-grind the Canucks.
As always, the Ducks' twins will have to use their telepathic connection to outplay the creative offense of Vancouver's twins and Ryan Kesler.
What Can We Learn From this Game:
NHL.com has noticed and even put up a poll regarding the Ducks' home win streak.
Now underway into the second half of the season, every team will be scratching and clawing their way for the two points. With the 19-0-2 home record, the Ducks have a target on their back. With a 14 consecutive win streak, Jonas Hiller in particular has a target on his back. In addition to all this, the next two weeks can arguably be considered the toughest as the Ducks face off against the top teams of the league right before the Olympic break.
Vancouver will be the first real test of the upcoming challenge of a schedule, which includes playing back-to-back road games against Chicago and St. Louis (again), and facing off against our freeway rivals, the hated Kings back at home and at Dodger Stadium. As eyes are finally beginning to turn towards the streaking Ducks, this is the time to really prove that this team has what it takes to beat the league's finest.
Fearless Prediction: John Tortorella drops more f-bombs than Bruce Boudreau. Wouldn't it be fun if there was someone with counter on both sides of the bench?
Stay tuned here for updates throughout the day (lineup news, etc.) and start commenting. We'll have a quick stats pack shortly before puck drop for the in-game comments to flow.