Wednesday January 4th, 2017 7:30 PM PST
Radio: AM 830, AnaheimDucks.com
Your Enemy: Winging It In Motown
Welcome to the official halfway point of the season! Having fun?
Don’t worry. This game isn’t at the Joe. You can exhale now.
Even though Anaheim and Detroit are in different conferences, years of playoff collisions as members of the West before the divisional realignment in 2014 has created a healthy rivalry between these two teams.
While the Red Wings hold a significant advantage over the Ducks all-time with a record of 45-25-5 (with 7 ties before overtime was a thing), the Ducks hold a much more favorable record at home with a 19-18-4 mark.
The Ducks will no doubt be focusing on tightening up their defensive play. By tightening up, I mean taking a rope and wrapping it so tight that the wheel in the Detroit logo bursts. After the 55 shot beating on Sunday in which the Ducks miraculously escaped with a win, the most obvious weak spot in the Anaheim’s game will be focused on closely.
It’s probable that Jonathan Bernier gets his first start since December 20th in Montreal. Bernier let in 5 goals that game, but had pretty much non-existent offensive help as the Ducks scored once on a meager 13 SOG. After Gibson’s 5 straight starts including the 51 save workout against Philadelphia, the young netminder could use the rest. And I’m sure Bernier would love to earn Randy Carlyle’s trust again.
The Ducks could be down 1 captain tonight. Ryan Getzlaf suffered a lower body injury late in the 2nd period against the Flyers on Sunday and did not return. Assistant coach Paul MacLean said yesterday at practice that Getzlaf received treatment and felt better but remains day-to-day making his status questionable for tonight. The Ducks recalled center Chris Wagner from San Diego to fill the gap if needed.
Detroit, meanwhile, is on a 3-5-2 run in its last 10 averaging just 2.3 GF/G over that period. The Red Wings currently own the Eastern Conference’s 3rd worst goal differential at -14 as they find themselves 2nd to last in the Atlantic Division; only one point ahead of the struggling Buffalo Sabres.
Part of this is due to the absence due to injury of both forward Justin Abdelkader and defensemen Mike Greene, two of their more dynamic offensive players.
Petr Mrazek could get the start for the Red Wings with Jimmy Howard dealing with an injury, as Mrazek had apparently lost the starting job with the resurgence of the veteran goaltender this season. Rookie Jared Coreau played in Sunday’s thrilling Centennial Classic against Toronto in which the Red Wings erased a 3 goal deficit in the 3rd period with a goal just over one second left in regulation. Toronto would end up winning the game in overtime 5-4.
Detroit always seems to turn it up a notch against the Ducks, however, so don’t expect this game to be a walk in the park, even with the Wings recent stretch of poor play.