The Ducks have lost two in a row for the first time since late November. Coincidentally those two losing streaks were against the same two teams: the Chicago Blackhawks and San Jose Sharks. Both of those teams will be in the playoffs this year and the Ducks have lost the regular season series against both of them. In their final game before a long road trip, the Ducks will look to get back on track.
This is the first meeting of the season against the Carolina Hurricanes. Last season the Ducks went 1-0-1 against the Hurricanes, losing in a shootout to Justin Peters by the final score of 3-2. The Hurricanes are 15th out of 16 in the East with 40 points, but they have started playing better lately.
The Ducks will have to really be better defensively, because giving up 10 goals against in two games (even with Bryzgalov) is unacceptable for a top team in this league. The Hurricanes have skilled players that have been injured and also have underperformed this year. Eric Staal is always a threat, and Alexander Semin is back from injury and should also play against the Ducks.
This could turn out to be a goaltender battle. Frederick Andersen earned win last season with 49 saves. Cam Ward has a .913 SV% in 33 games played and can make great saves. In the end, this is the Ducks game to lose.
What can we learn from this game?
Can the Ducks play consistent defense? Both the forwards and defensemen have been horrible in their own end in the last two games. They have played so badly that fans have started trade rumors about the defensemen and possible defensive targets for the trade deadline (OEL is available maybe???). The Ducks, however, have shown that they can shut down teams with the players they have. It has been a lack of effort and failure to play consistently that has lead to the breakdowns against top teams this season.
Can the Ducks beat a team that they should have no problem beating?
The Ducks get their lives together and win by more than one goal.