The Ducks (99 pts.) and Rangers (97 pts.) are neck-and-neck in the race for the President's trophy, with New York having three games in hand over Anaheim. The last matchup at Honda Center was a 4-1 loss for the Ducks, who started Ilya Bryzgalov and only received a goal from Francois Beauchemin. With a new and improved defense, the Ducks look to start their road trip off with a win against a true Stanley Cup contender.
This is the second of two meetings between the Ducks and Rangers. In the first, Henrik Lundqvist made 24 saves on 25 shots. After sustaining a blood vessel injury in a game against the Hurricanes where he took a shot to the throat, the Rangers will be without Lundqvist for what could be at least one more week. This hasn't stopped the Rangers, however. Backup goaltender Cam Talbot has won four of his last five starts, allowing one or less goal in each game, with an amazing .975 SV%.
Needless to say, the Ducks have their work cut out for them. They may have swept their three-game home stand, but you can bet that the team isn't satisfied with the way they did it. Two wins came in overtime, and the lone regulation win was thanks to a four-goal third period. Second period play is also an area where the Ducks can improve, having one of the worst GF/GA ratios in the league.
What can we learn from this game?
Will this game bring out the Ducks that we saw against the rival Kings, or will this just be another lazy let down as they coast into the playoffs? This game will be a challenge for the Ducks, both on offense and defense. The Rangers have been shutting teams down and scoring at a decent rate. Even with top players out, the Rangers have proved that they can still be a threat (shutting out the Blackhawks 1-0 isn't easy). The Rangers look poised to return to the Stanley Cup Final, and if the Ducks can show they can compete with them maybe the rest of the league and the fans will start to believe that the team can get past Round 2.
The Rangers and Ducks play to a shootout. Rickard Rakell scores the game winner.