The turnaround continues for the Ducks, who are showing the Kings how scary it is when a lackluster SoCal rival throughout the first half of the season suddenly catches fire. The stranglehold that Los Angeles once held on the rest of the Pacific Division is all but a memory now as Anaheim is right in their rear view mirror, and bearing down on the division lead with the quickness. Nine out of a possible 12 points throughout this road trip make for a smaller sample size of how this turnaround has looked in general, and as Eric Stephens pointed out on Twitter, it's been pretty remarkable how far they've come in less than two months' time.
#NHLDucks were one point above NHL basement on Dec. 24. They're three points out of first in Pacific on Feb. 16. 17-4-2 has done it.— Eric Stephens (@icemancometh) February 17, 2016
Part of that is due to the offense finally finding their stride. It may be hard to believe that this is, for the most part, the same one that only scored three goals in the team's first eight games, but they have suddenly turned every arena they visit into the Red Light District. Again, from Stephens:
Ducks have 58 goals in last 15 games (3.87 avg.). It's allowed them to move from 30th to 26th in scoring (2.39 avg.).— Eric Stephens (@icemancometh) February 17, 2016
The reliable Anaheim defense has ceded 2.47 goals per game in that same stretch of time. Not world-beating, but that still makes for a margin of victory slightly over a point a night. Insurance goals are always nice, right? The Ducks look to continue their ascension through the standings tonight with the conclusion of their seven-game road trip.
Ducks: Tuesday, 2/16 at Edmonton Oilers (W 5-3). "BEST AND WORST: Ducks Win A Weird One In Edmonton 5-3"
Canucks: Monday, 2/15 vs Minnesota Wild (L 2-5). "Vancouver Canucks Come Out Flat, Never Threaten in Latest Home Loss"
Ryan Getzlaf's scoring streak continued for the sixth-straight game on Tuesday night by virtue of a primary assist on David Perron's ice-breaker at the end of the first period. He now leads the team in overall points with 44 to Corey Perry's 41. His six goals are still lower than team members, officials, and fans alike expect out of him, but his playmaking abilities as of late have been shining through. With Getzlaf's turn in play as well as the reshuffling of the lines, it's resulted in much better possession, as Zac Urback shares in visual form in this tweet-heavy preview:
Here's the full list of teams net possession changes between the first & last 20GP. pic.twitter.com/DGryCklMid— Zac Urback (@Zac_Urback) February 17, 2016
Frederik Andersen, victor of three straight decisions, is coming off a night where he wasn't exactly at his sharpest. The three goals he allowed on Tuesday night were all ones that had no business finding the net. Although he earned the win, Freddie also had his third-straight sub-.900 night in the save percentage column (small sample size in Chicago still came with the decision). Furthermore, the Danish netminder has taken two of the three outings against Vancouver thus far this season with the exact same result in both of them: a 24-save effort in a 2-1 shootout loss. He'll most likely be looking for redemption for both the last meetings against the Canucks and his most recent showing, since John Gibson is skating again after his injury in Chicago, but probably isn't ready for game speed quite yet.
Local boy Emerson Etem has not been having a good go in his first season away from home. He finally potted his first goal of the year in a case of former Duck on former Duck crime a few nights ago; his goal on Jonas Hiller was the lone tally for Vancouver in a 4-1 defeat to the Calgary Flames. He only has four assists to add, one of them being with the Canucks.
As is usually the case year in and year out in Vancouver, the Sedin twins pace their team offensively. Daniel Sedin has the most goals (22), Henrik Sedin has dished out the most assists (31), and the two of them have the top amount of points respectively (46 and 41). The latter also recently became the franchise leader in games played on Saturday night after surpassing Trevor Linden's 1,140 skates on Saturday. Daniel isn't far behind, as tonight's game will make 1,118 for him.
Both Ryan Miller and Jacob Markstrom have already gotten the better of Andersen once this season. Miller turned away 28 of 29 on October 12th, while Markstrom stopped 27 on New Year's Day, both games resulting in a 2-1 shootout victory for the Canucks. Miller also suffered a less flattering 4-0 shellacking in what ended up being a shortened night for him back in November. Regardless of being the one who suffered the sole loss to Anaheim thus far, the veteran tendy will most likely get the call after Markstrom's rough night against the Minnesota Wild.
Two hours before face off we'll have the game thread up, featuring the full Stat Pack, likely with expected lines, and of course your Numbers For Nerds.