Time: Sunday, October 29th, 2:00PM PST
PNC Arena, Raleigh, North Carolina
TV: PRIME, FS-CR
Radio: AM 830
The Enemy: Canes Country
The Anaheim Ducks are coming off of a fantastic 4-1 victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday afternoon, but now have to turn their focus to the Carolina Hurricanes less than 24 hours later. The 4:00 PM PST start on Saturday in Tampa will be followed by a 2:00 PM PST start in Raleigh on Sunday, so the Ducks will need to be wary of fatigue as the game moves along.
The Carolina Hurricanes currently sit at 4-4-1, with their most recent contest resulting in a 2-1 loss at the hands of the St. Louis Blues. They have only played four games in Raleigh thus far this season, going a mediocre 1-2-1 in those games.
Anaheim’s 4-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning helps them to quickly erase the memory of an 8-3 defeat in Sunrise against the Florida Panthers. The Ducks will look to finish up their four game road trip strong before heading back home to play the Toronto Maple Leafs at Honda Center on Wednesday.
All Eyes on Me:
Ryan Miller appears to be set to make his Anaheim Ducks debut in Raleigh against the Hurricanes, and he will be my player to watch. It’s difficult to really set any expectations for him, as he has been recovering from a wrist injury and has not played a regular season game in the NHL since April 8th, where the Vancouver Canucks fell to the Edmonton Oilers by a score of 3-2.
He finished the 2016-17 campaign with a final record of 18-29-6, recording a save percentage of .914. His debut with the Ducks will be coming on the second half of back-to-backs, so he may be faced with a higher volume of shots against than normal, especially in the later periods. Tampa Bay played the game on Saturday at a high pace, and the Ducks may feel the effects of that in Raleigh.
Keys to the Game:
It is absolutely crucial that the Ducks get off to a quick start against the Hurricanes. With fatigue shaping up to be a factor, the Ducks cannot afford to fall behind early. Get the forecheck going, and get it going early.
A strong defensive effort and careful control of the puck in the defensive zone will be another key to success. Bad passes and turnovers with a cold Ryan Miller in net could lead to the Ducks picking a lot of pucks out of the back of their goal.
Lastly, special teams will be a key factor once again. With the penalty kill having a very strong showing against the Lightning and going a perfect 4/4 as well as the power play going perfect at 2/2, the Ducks need to keep momentum rolling. The Carolina Hurricanes sit at 17th in the league on both the power play and the penalty kill, with success rates of 15.6% and 80.0%, respectively.
If the Ducks can keep their special teams rolling strong and get off to another good start as they did in Tampa, they should have a very realistic shot of claiming the two points at PNC Arena.
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