The Ducks and Blackhawks face off for the first time since last year's playoffs with Anaheim in desperate need of a win in the midst of an early season slump.
Ducks: Saturday, 10/24 at Minnesota. "Ducks Still Can't Find the Back of the Net"
Blackhawks: Saturday, 10/24 vs Tampa Bay. "Toews Scores OT Game-Winner in Shutout"
The Ducks have now been shut out in 4 games, matching their total for the entire 2014-2015 season. The team has had few chances in high-danger scoring areas and the forward lines seem out of sync. Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf have yet to score goals and have been mixed throughout the lineup to try to generate offense. Fans are growing restless and speculation has begun as to who may replace Bruce Boudreau should he be unable to turn this team around.
The Ducks are struggling on defense with injuries to Simon Despres and now Josh Manson. Clayton Stoner returned to the ice against Minnesota alongside Sami Vatanen for much of the game. Hampus Lindholm and Kevin Bieksa have been forced to play top-pairing minutes with Cam Fowler and Korbinian Holzer rounding out the defense. The lone bright spot for the Ducks has been Frederik Andersen who, despite his 0-3-1 record, has managed to put up a 1.86 GAA and .938 SV%. Andersen made a highlight-reel stick save against Matt Dumba and fought to keep the Ducks in the game against Minnesota.
The big news for the Blackhawks is that they can still win without defenseman Duncan Keith who they lost last Wednesday to a knee injury. He will be out 4-6 weeks. The Hawks defeated the Lightning in overtime thanks to Jonathan Toews' goal. It was Toews who snapped out of a cold streak of his own with his first goal of the season. Leading the way in goals and points for the Blackhawks is Patrick Kane (5 goals, 6 assists).
The Blackhawks will be looking for their fourth straight win since losing back-to-back road games.
Two hours before the game we will have the game thread up, featuring the full Stat Pack, likely with expected lines, and of course your Numbers for Nerds.