Anaheim Ducks vs. Philadelphia Flyers
Sunday January 1, 2017 5:00 PM PST
TV: PRIME, NHLN-US
Radio: AM 830, AnaheimDucks.com
Your Enemy: Broad Street Hockey
After a lackluster end to 2016 for Anaheim, the Ducks have the chance to start 2017 on the right foot. Sitting at 18-12-8 (44 pts.) and 3rd in the Pacific division, Anaheim could really use a 2nd half surge similar to last season. While Anaheim is much better off record-wise than they were a year ago, this team is still not playing hockey like a contender on a consistent basis. Philadelphia could be a great opportunity for Anaheim to get that started and begin to trend upwards.
The Flyers have struggled as of late, having gone 1-4-1 in their last six games of 2016. The Flyers haven't even won a game in regulation since December 14th. The usual suspects are leading the way in Philly as Jakub Voracek, Wayne Simmonds, and Claude Giroux are atop the points ladder for the Flyers. Anaheim will not want to be taking the number of penalties against the Flyers that they had in Vancouver as the Flyers possess the #6 powerplay in the NHL. Voracek, Simmonds, and Giroux are key to the PP as well as they have 14 PP goals between them. However, the penalty kill is an even bigger weakness for Philadelphia than is has been for Anaheim this year. The Flyers have the 20th ranked penalty kill in the league and Anaheim could really take control of this game if Philly gets into penalty trouble .
As Anaheim looks forward at the month ahead of them, there is a huge opportunity for the Ducks. Anaheim will play NINE games against teams outside of playoff position this month. Of those nine games, five are against either the Arizona Coyotes or the Colorado Avalanche, the two worst teams in the NHL. There is a huge opportunity for Anaheim to really crush the month of January and come out of it looking stronger on the ice and in the standings. Now it's just up to the players to go out and get it done.
Numbers for Nerds
Anaheim is 10-0-1 in their last 11 games agaisnt the Flyers dating back to October 2009. Seven of those 11 games were 1-goal games so while Anaheim has been dominant in the win column, this matchup with Philadelphia has been very close for a long time.