Friday, October 19th, 7:00 PM PST
Radio: AM 830, AnaheimDucks.com
Your Enemy: Habs Eyes on the Prize
The Anaheim Ducks are in a bit of a slump. But let’s be real. It has been rough, but may I remind you that we have fared far worse. Need a quick reminder? Well, the Ducks started out the 2015-2016 season with only ten goals through the first ten games. To make things far worse, Anaheim had a 1-7-2 record (4 points), standing in last place in the NHL. And that was with a full roster. The Ducks ended up rallying back just in time for the holidays to make a complete season turnaround and clinching a spot in the playoffs.
It can be a lot worse than it is right now and I think most of us comfort ourselves knowing that the real Anaheim Ducks are currently injury-bitten, and will (hopefully) recover soon and on the ice will hopefully be receiving reinforcements.
Well, seeing as the league isn’t going to stop and wait for the Ducks to heal any time soon, Anaheim needs to work with what it currently has. Sure, we know that the offense has been dwindling because the top two centers are out and the first line is a mish-mash of the first/second lines. The Ducks are still getting a fair amount of shots, but most are coming from the perimeter. But what truly gets to me is watching the defense. It has been painful watching the Ducks struggle in their defensive zone. Sloppy passes and mismanaging of the puck all lead to turnovers and direct shots on net by the opponent. This can be fixed and needs to be fixed if the Ducks have any hope of getting by without their big guns. And we all know that there is absolutely nothing good at the moment to say about the special teams so I’m going avoid going on a tirade. You’re welcome. Thank goodness that at the very least, goaltending has been outstanding for the most part and a saving grace.
But the Anaheim Ducks aren’t the only ones struggling in the league. The Ducks will be welcoming another team that has been having a tough time scrounging up offense (and defense). The Montreal Canadiens will be entering Honda Center with a lousy 1-5-1 record. For Canada, you can bet this is a bonafide emergency. I mean, how can a team that boasts well-known names such as Max Pacioretty and Carey Price and the recently acquired Jonathan Drouin be that terrible? Well, don’t let the points fool you. Montreal is still one of the league’s leading possessions teams, holding a 54.1% possession rate at even-strength. Also, even-strength scoring chances tilt in Montreal’s favor with 53.4% and a 56.6% Corsi For. So, while they have had some struggles with actually scoring, the underlying numbers lead me to believe the Habs are due to bounce back.
The Anaheim Ducks are going to have to tighten it up in Friday’s match-up against the Montreal Canadiens because they will be looking to bounce back from their 5-1 loss against LA. The Ducks have had a few days off, which may be the best thing for the injury-ridden club. Randy Carlyle has stated it is doubtful that Ryan Getzlaf or Patrick Eaves start (I mean they didn’t even come out to Ducks Face-off Fest for goodness sake), but we received good news about the hopeful returns Hampus Lindholm, Ondrej Kase, Ryan Miller, and Corey Perry. So here’s to a rapid recovery and a hell of a showing by whoever is in net tonight!