Game # 32
Thursday, December 14th, 5:00PM PST
TV: FS-MW, PRIME
Radio: AM 830
The Enemy: St. Louis Game Time
Your 13-11-7 Anaheim Ducks are coming off a home victory against the Carolina Hurricanes. Tonight they go up against the high-flying St. Louis Blues in the Midwest. The Blues are a miraculous 21-9-2, which gives them a full 44 points to start the 2017-2018 season. That is good enough for first place in the Central Division. On the other hand, the Ducks remain out of a playoff spot with 33 points. However, Ducks fans have a reason to be optimistic with players getting healthy. Ryan Getzlaf, sporting a visor of course, looked a bit rusty in his first game back in action. His second game should seem much more fluid. While the Ducks are coming off a hard-fought win, St. Louis will be trying to avenge Tuesday night’s shutout coming against the Lightning. Mike Yeo’s offense will do everything they can to get on the scoreboard early and often against John Gibson.
ALL EYES ON ME
Randy Carlyle. It’s time for the head coach to prove he knows what he’s doing. With Corey Perry being out of the lineup on a week-to-week basis, Carlyle is set to try brand new forward lines. The top six could potentially be Roy-Getzlaf-Silfverberg and Cogliano-Henique-Rakell. Dare I say that looks exciting? Getzlaf surrounded by Roy’s speed and Silfverberg’s bulk shooting could be a recipe for success. On the second line, Anaheim’s new shiny toy Adam Henrique is back with Rickard Rakell. If any of these trios do not work out, Carlyle will surely give Ondrej “The Giant” Kase back with the big boys.
Carlyle also needs to get a handle on the Anaheim blueline. With Hampus Lindholm back at practice after suffering an injury, a personnel decision is looming on the horizon. Will the rookie Andy Welinski see more games? Do we continue to see both Kevin Bieksa and Francois Beauchemin in the lineup? To be honest, this seems like a Korbinian Holzer type of night.
Randy will probably stick with John Gibson because, well, it’s John Gibson.
KEYS TO THE GAME
The key to the game is to score more goals than the other team.
The St. Louis Blues are third overall in the National Hockey League in goal differential at +23. The only trail the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Los Angeles Kings. The Ducks clearly have room to improve as they sit at -8 31 games into the season. Anaheim will need to keep the pressure on the St. Louis defense while in the offensive zone. If all goes well, Vladimir Tarasenko won’t get too many scoring chances. As long as the Anaheim defense is able to control the slot (not likely), John Gibson should have an easier night as long as he controls his rebounds. Given both lineups are on the heavier side, there will be plenty of chances immediately in front of the crease.
Puck drop is at 5pm Pacific Time from the Scottrade Center.