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Ducks vs Wild PREVIEW: Bruce is Back

7th and 8th place battle in Boudreau’s return to Anaheim

Winnipeg Jets v Minnesota Wild Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Game #43

Anaheim Ducks vs. Minnesota Wild

Sunday January 8th, 2017 5:00 PM PST

Honda Center


Radio: AM 830,

Your Enemy: Hockey Wilderness

After a franchise best 12-game win streak for the Wild, and an inconsistent season so far for the Ducks, we find these teams separated only by 3 points headed into tonights match-up.

The Minnesota Wild have been one of the NHL’s hottest teams, losing only their second game yesterday since the beginning of December. Although the now doused Blue Jackets ended their 12 game streak, the Wild still are one of the hottest teams in the league. The Wild have experienced a sort of renaissance under Bourdeau. They currently have the largest goal differential in the leauge with +34, as well as the fewest goals against in the league. They also currently sit 4th in the league in scoring. These are big changes for a team that finished 17th overall and had a first round playoff exit last season.

Not surprisingly, the Carlyle coached Ducks are being outshot averaging 28.4 shots against, up from 26 under Boudreau. The biggest change though has been shot differential. Last season under Boudreau, the Ducks were +3.1. Carlyle, on the other hand, sits in the negative at -.07. Carlyle and the Duck’s saving grace this season has been the powerplay, currently 2nd in the league, and goaltending. John Gibson has been unreal as of late going 4-0-1 in his last 5, posting a .943 save percentage.

When asked about his return to Anaheim, Boudreau said, “When I first got the [Minnesota] job and the schedule came out, it was the first game I looked at...I think I'm a pretty average person. It's always nervous seeing guys. When you get let go, you don't know behind the scenes if they liked you or really liked you or hated you or what the thing was. You don't know what the reaction was going to be." Despite his playoff faults, Bruce always seemed like a genuine, down-to-earth guy and i’m happy for his success in Minnesota. I hope the fans give him a warm welcome back tonight.