Sunday, November 19th, 5:00 PM PST
TV: PRIME, FS-F
Radio: AM 830, AnaheimDucks.com
Your Enemy: Litter Box Cats
The Anaheim Ducks are looking to capitalize off of a 4-2 victory over the Boston Bruins and get a win against the Florida Panthers before a grueling schedule hits them next week. The Ducks will have games on Sunday afternoon against Florida, followed by Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. Five games in seven days is no small feat for any team in the league, but one that has been battling injuries from day one could see increased difficulty in a schedule like this. It should be a good test for young players that are trying to earn the right to stay with the big club upon the returns of the injured Ducks, but their first test will be a big one.
The Florida Panthers are coming off of a 4-0 defeat at the hands of the Los Angeles Kings, and they will no doubt be looking to end their California road trip on a high note when they travel to Anaheim on Sunday afternoon. The Ducks have been a good opportunity for the Panthers to find their offense recently, having been winners of the last 3 matchups against the Ducks.
Since the 2014-15 season, the Ducks and Panthers have played each other seven times, with the Cats winning five of those contests. They have outscored the Ducks 26-15 in those seven games, averaging almost four goals a game. Anaheim will need to find a way to slow down the Florida offense if they are going to kick off their busy week with a win.
All Eyes On Me:
The Ducks need someone to step up and get the offense rolling early against the Panthers to avoid chasing the game for a majority of the 60 minutes, and I will be looking to Jakob Silfverberg to make this happen. Jakob Silfverberg seems to be finding his groove, scoring two goals against the Vancouver Canucks and another three nights later against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
He was able to record an assist in the Anaheim Ducks’ first game against the Panthers this year in Sunrise, but the Ducks will most likely need him to find the back of the net, given Florida’s recent scoring rate against Anaheim. I’m also hopeful that Silfverberg will be able to give a much-needed boost to the power play unit by continuing his hot streak.
Keys to the Game:
The Ducks will need a few things to go right for them if they are going to come out of this game with two points, in my mind.
1. The Ducks need to find a way to score the first goal of this game. I know that has been a challenge for this team for the first month of this season, but playing from behind against this team has not gone well for them in the past.
2. The Ducks need John Gibson to continue to be stellar in net. Florida’s offense is quick and I would bet on them having at least a couple odd-man rushes during this game. Keeping those chances out of the back of the net gives the Ducks a chance to get the W.
3. Special teams will be a major key, as always, in this matchup against the Panthers. Florida currently has the 22nd ranked power play and 30th ranked penalty kill in the NHL, and that smells like an opportunity to me. If the Ducks can stay out of the box and capitalize on their power play chances, I see it being very difficult for Florida to keep up.
This game is the first half of back-to-backs, with the team hitting the road to take on the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center on Monday night. It also marks the first of five games in the next seven days for the Anaheim Ducks, so getting points earlier in the week is preferred.