Anaheim returns to the "Keystone State" to face off with the Philadelphia Flyers to close out the Ducks' first back-to-back scenario of the season. After a decisive 5-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Monday afternoon, Anaheim looks to extend their current winning streak to three games following the opening night goal-fest loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Face offs! I cannot stress this enough, the Ducks need to be stellar in the face off circle if they want to control the game and play their style of hockey. The Flyers have had a rough opening to their season, dropping their first three games, including a brutal overtime loss to Montreal on Saturday night in which Philly blew a 3-goal lead going into the third period. The Ducks have won more faceoffs in each of their two victories this season, so why not keep with that trend and see what comes of it?
Also, if Anaheim can control the puck drops, then they have a strong chance of nullifying the top scoring threat on Philadelphia's squad: Wayne Simmonds. So far this season Simmonds has four goals in just three games played, which puts him in a tie for the most goals in the league thus far. Granted he's tied with two other players, one of whom he is going to face off against, Anaheim's own Corey Perry.
Early Monday evening the Philadelphia website announced that Vincent Lecavalier, who is sidelined for roughly the next two weeks, will have his large skates filled by the rather inexperienced Pierre-Edouard Bellemare. Bellemare, who is more accustomed to centering the fourth line for Philly, finds his way up onto the top trio of forwards flanked by Simmonds and Brayden Schenn. If the Anaheim centers can control the start of each play against Philadelphia's top line then there is a strong chance that Simmonds will fall silent and the Ducks can translate that into some offensive opportunities.
Anaheim needs to continue the forward momentum that has accumulated over the past two wins, especially the positivity stemming from the blowout 5-1 win over the Sabres. The Ducks need to keep fighting to limit the number of shots against. They won't be able to repeat the 12 shot performance from yesterday, but maybe can use it as a goal of some kind.
What Can We Learn From this Game:
Who is going to shoulder the responsibility of keeping the energy up during the back end of a two-game in two-day away stand? Will Frederik Andersen get his third start of the season, and second in as many nights? Will the secondary scoring continue to contribute on the scoreboard? Can William Karlsson pot a few more goals to follow up his two-goal performance against Buffalo? Only time will tell ladies and gentlemen!
Andersen gets a night off, John Gibson will get a redemption performance after allowing 6 goals on 39 shots faced in the season opener against the Penguins. I have a strong sense that the Ducks are overdue for a game going into overtime, so let's add that to this prediction, but I'm not going to speculate one way or another on final score. Though I do expect the top two lines of forwards to go full beast mode and prove why they are considered some of the best.
Somebody's moving from center to to the wing -CK