Friday, December 8th, 7pm PST
TV: SN1, Prime, NHL.tv
Radio: AM 830
Your Enemy: Hockey Wilderness
The Anaheim Ducks had a nice welcome home as they beat the Ottawa Senators 3-0 Wednesday night. This was the Ducks first shutout of the season and is just their third win in the past ten games. They will look to make it two wins in a row tonight as they host the Minnesota Wild.
The Wild have seen early season struggles similar to the Ducks. After signing Bruce Boudreau as head coach last year and leading them to second place in the Central Division, many people saw the Wild as an easy candidate for the playoffs this year. Some various injuries early on, and their lack of depth in their bottom 6, has left the Wild looking average at best and currently outside out of the playoffs. With their loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday, the Wild are now 13-11-3 on the season and sit one spot below the Ducks in the standings.
The Ducks are now 12-11-6 on the season, which is decent (but still disappointing) with all things considered. Not to beat a dead horse, but the list of injuries has been unbelievable. Here is a look at recent injury stretches teams have faced and the Ducks sit right near the top. Keep in mind the 2015/16 Canadiens were in “tank-mode” at that point and let players get surgeries, etc.
Already looked at how Anaheim have basically had the most injured start to a season in the past 8 years (and likely beyond that). This is how their first 27 games compares to the worst 27-game stretches at any point of a season in that timeframe: pic.twitter.com/PKMXOS9O1h— NHLInjuryViz (@NHLInjuryViz) December 5, 2017
All Eyes On Me
Since joining the Ducks just 4 games ago, Adam Henrique has produced 5 points, including his first (and second) goals against the Senators. It will be interesting to see how he plays with lower-caliber wingers once Getzlaf and Kesler return, but for now he’s been dynamite and exactly what the Ducks hoped for when they traded for him.
Keys to the Game
1. Outshoot a team - The Ducks haven’t outshot a team in 14 games. They did tie the Predators in shots. It usually helps a team win if they have more shots on net.
2. Depth Scoring - As mentioned previously, the Wild’s bottom 6 are a big weakness (aside from Coyle). I expect Ondrej Kase to blow by them and generate a couple great scoring chances.
3. Gibby and Miller keep doing you - Almost the entire reason why the Ducks still have a chance at playoffs is because of the goaltending (see #1 about being outshot). As long as they’re in net, the Ducks have a chance to win.
Ducks win this one 3-2 in regulation. Mikael Granlund will get the first goal for the Wild, but Rakell will even it up shortly after. Tied 1-1 going into the 3rd, the Ducks will take control, with Kase getting a partial breakaway goal at some point.
What should Adam Henrique’s nickname be?
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