Thursday, April 5th, 7:00 PM PST
Radio: AM 830, AnaheimDucks.com
Your Enemy: Second City Hockey
I’m not exactly sure how to begin this preview since I’m still reeling from the lasting effects of the last action-packed game. Even though the Anaheim Ducks will be facing off tonight against the Chicago Blackhawks, which tends to always be a thriller, it won’t come close to comparing against the last period of the Ducks v. Flames game from this past Tuesday.
Well here is how both teams stand. Let’s start with the incoming Western Conference rivals—the Chicago Blackhawks. Duncan Keith, who had not yet missed a game up to this point, got rest against Colorado, while his blue-line-partner-in-crime Niklas Hjalmarsson also didn’t make the trip. The rest of the team struggled a bit defensively in their 4-3 loss in Colorado after losing a 3 goal lead. With the #1 seed in the Western Conference locked up, Head Coach Joel Quenneville has been focused on prepping his team for the post-season—which basically means balancing playing time between guys who receive rest and guys who stay in the game-shape. So in a nutshell—the Blackhawks are chillin’ just biding time until they need to show up in the post-season.
While the Blackhawks are cruising, the Anaheim Ducks are literally scratching and clawing their way to maintain the #1 seed in the Pacific Division. With the top three Pacific teams (Anaheim, Edmonton, San Jose) all points away from topping one another, none of these teams have let go of the gas pedal. In fact, this last push will be what each team needs to propel them into the playoffs. With the (ahem 25th straight home win) over the Calgary Flames this past Tuesday, the Ducks are sitting in first with 101 points. Trailing closely behind is Edmonton and San Jose with 97 points apiece, with the former having a game in-hand. The Ducks may be sitting on top, but there are some threads that are beginning to unravel within the roster. Obviously we all know about Cam Fowler being listed as “day-to-day” after that dirty hit, but there’s also Sami Vatanen and Hampus Lindholm who have also been listed as injured. Yikes. Talk about being spread thin on the blue line during the worst moment possible.
That being said, maybe this is what the Ducks just need. Now hear me out. I’m not saying the Ducks need injuries—hell no, we’ve had enough of those. But I’m saying that this is perhaps the momentum builder the Ducks need—to make it a point to rally and prove to all the other teams in the Western Conference and beyond that this team has the potential and depth to play beyond present expectations. Injured they may be, but the Ducks have got to use this to dig deep and fight—like Josh Manson fought the shit out of
the dirty turd Mark Giordano.