Date: Wednesday, October 10th, 2018
Time: 7:00 PT / 10:00 ET
Location: Honda Center
TV: Fox Sports Prime
Did you think your Anaheim Ducks would be the only team in the National Hockey League to start the season 3-0? You probably didn’t unless your name is John Gibson. The Ducks have defeated the San Jose Sharks (sucks), the Arizona Coyotes (sucks), and the Detroit Red Wings (sucks) along the way. Although it might not have been the most encouraging brand of hockey, Ducks fans can’t deny that the team is exceeding expectations. Carlyle and company will look to continue the streak as they once again face off against a—this time retro-less—Coyotes (sucks) squad.
The Arizona Coyotes are looking for their first win of the season. They are 0-2 after only playing two games in the opening week of the season. This hockey insider is hearing that they’ll be extremely motivated to win their first of the season especially against a division opponent. Arizona hasn't played since their last game against the Ducks, so they’ll be plenty rested heading into Honda Center. Who knows—maybe they stayed up past their curfew playing Fortnite with John Chayka.
Anaheim will take all the positives they can get as they are also leading the league in a different category.
Combined AAV of Anaheim’s injured players last game was $30.4m (Perry, Getzlaf, Kesler, Eaves, Kase, Holzer; not including Roy and Kossila here)— NHLInjuryViz (@NHLInjuryViz) October 9, 2018
You can almost make an entire top 6 forward group with those players (Holzer second line center and Kesler on the bench). According to this Twitter account, that total was only eclipsed five times in the entire 2017-2018 season. Unfortunately each occurrence was by the Ducks. The team knows how to battle adversity and will need to continue without their veterans.
Look for Carlyle to manage his players’ ice time similarly to the way he did against the Red Wings. Most of the forwards will play comparable minutes, which is a breathe of fresh air for the fourth line. Sam Steel played the most minutes out of any forward with 20:54. The coaching staff has taken a different approach to the defense. The name of the game is giving your best players the most amount of ice time. For the Ducks that means the top 4 defensemen get the bulk of the responsibilities. Cam Fowler led the blue line against Detroit with 27:59 minutes played. There was a significant drop off to the third pairing. Luke Schenn and Marcus Pettersson played in the 11 minute range. This trend should continue into tonight’s tilt.
Anaheim will benefit from analyzing the tape from their previous game against the Coyotes. The Ducks were outshot 41-20 yet managed to pull out a 1-0 win. That score isn’t likely to be repeated if shot totals aren’t kept in check. Anaheim turned things around in their first home game of the season against Detroit. Although they started slow, they built off a good finish to the second and took full advantage in the third period. That was bound to happen on the opposing team’s second night of a back-to-back. It’s time for the Ducks to prove it to themselves that they can keep up offensively with a rested team. They might not have the same firepower that they used to, but the Jr. Ducks have what it takes to make this game entertaining. That’s all we ask as hockey fans.