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Ducks v. Golden Knights PREVIEW: Thank God Hockey is Back Post-Holiday Edition

Now that the holidays are over, hockey is back!

NHL: Anaheim Ducks at Vegas Golden Knights Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Game #38

Anaheim Ducks vs. Vegas Golden Knights

Wednesday, December 27th, 7:00 PM PST

Honda Center


Radio: AM 830,

Your Enemy: Knights on Ice

Like all of you, I am suffering a bit from the holiday hangover — the endless amounts of cookies, the bountiful feast, the glittery lights, and of course, the little and big wishes wrapped in shiny, sparkly wrapping paper. Now the holidays have passed and the year is soon to end. Only two more games left in 2017. Considering we had a few days off, let’s take a quick look at where we left off.

Your Anaheim Ducks

‘Twas two nights before Christmas with one last stop on the road (Ok, ok, I know that Christmas is over so I’ll stop). But what had been quite a disappointing road trip ended in quite a surprise. You see, perhaps Ducks fans asked for health and wellness this Christmas. But Santa is laughing because he’s like, to hell with your Christmas list, I gave you Gibby ages ago. And there we have it folks. Last we saw Anaheim, Gibson gave his hometown crowd a 29-save performance, posting his first shutout of the season. Not to mention getting some offensive support from a supporting cast. And post-Christmas, Anaheim is (miraculously) standing in the second wildcard spot—despite all the man games lost. It is a gawddamn Christmas miracle.

The Enemy

The gawddamn Vegas Golden Knights. I mean, no one gets it, but there they are — first in the Pacific WITH games on hand. I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s a f***ing anomaly and they just released word that thanks to their tremendous success, they are upping their already-outrageous season ticket holder prices. For a town full of noobs and new hockey fans, this hockey team sure knows how to play hockey. This team has taught everyone that they are a force with which to be reckoned. They also left off with holiday cheer with Marc-Andre Fleury shutting out the Caps 3-0.

Guys to watch out for haven’t changed since the Ducks last met their golden foes. The second line continues to roll. Jonathan Marchessault continues to rack up the points, leading his team with 32 points. His linemate, William Karlsson (ex-“Wild Bill”) follows with 28 points, second in scoring with 16 goals. Duck-killer James Neal leads the team with 17 goals, being supported by Erik Haula and David Perron.

Keys to the Game

  1. Like I said before, the Vegas Golden Knights are a team that thrives on momentum. They come out fast and furious and put up as many points as you allow. This isn’t a team that Anaheim can sit back and expect to play defense (not that they are really capable of playing shutdown defense against any team). The Golden Knights are going to come out hard and put up points early on. They have to because...
  2. ...the Golden Knights lack goaltending. Sure, Fleury can have spurts of greatness. But he’s kind of like Miller. We all know that while Miller has fantastic outings, he’s not going to be your go-to #1 goaltender because he no longer is that guy. Same as Fleury. Sure he’s Vegas’ #1 goaltender thanks to the expansion draft, but we know that he’s not top goaltender caliber anymore. That time has passed. So the Ducks need to capitalize on this and actually shoot.
  3. No penalties. We’ve said this before too. The Ducks fare better when they are out of the penalty box. This isn’t going to be an easy game — the Ducks would do themselves a favor by not giving them the man advantage at any point.
  4. Gibby to be great. Because he has to be.