Date: Tuesday, October 23th, 2018
Time: 5:30 PT / 8:30 ET
Location: United Center
TV: PRIME, NHL.TV
The Anaheim Ducks are headed to Chicago to take on the Blackhawks tonight. They’ll look to get back on the winning side of hockey after dropping both games of their weekend back-to-back, where they were outshot 90-46.
The upside is they face a Blackhawks team that just allowed 55 shots against in a loss to the Lightning. The Blackhawks also have a negative goal differential (-2), meaning they aren’t great at controlling the game either. Chicago sits in the first wild card spot at 4-2-2 after their loss to Tampa. They are a perfect opportunity for the Ducks to start turning their game around.
What’s the old saying? “Quality over quantity.” This has been the Ducks mantra it seems to the start of this season. Capitalize on quality chances, and let John Gibson be the beast he is and stop the quantity of chances every other team gets against the Ducks. Point being, the Ducks have been outshot in all but two games and have only outshot a team once this season - the Detroit Red Wings who sit dead last in the league. They sit first in the Pacific at 5-3-1, but the issue is this isn’t a long-term strategy for success, especially when the other teams are also getting quality chances on top of the fact that goalies tire out as the season wears on.
Keys to the Game
Control the game and get more chances than the opponent. It sounds simple and straight-forward, right? That’s exactly what you're supposed to do in hockey. Yet it’s been a struggle for the Ducks. They are missing pieces of their team, but this is where they need to make a statement about their resilience to overcome injuries and prove they are more than just an outstanding goaltender.
Extend the offensive zone. One area the Ducks have shined is in their chances off the rush. The young ducklings have helped generate some great opportunities with their speed. But you can’t rely on getting breakaways to score every goal. Too often this season, the Ducks have entered the zone to getting only one attempt off, or just dishing out a slew of passes before turning the puck over to the other team. The Ducks need to get into the zone and set up extended offensive pressure to wear down the defense and generate consecutive chances.
All Eyes on Me
Ryan Getzlaf, now back from injury, and Rickard Rakell are expected to lead this team. They have been dominant together the past few years, and they will need to get into that groove again if they want to help set the right tone down the Ducks lineup.
Patrick Kane is still the lethal goal-scorer he always is, while Corey Crawford is finally back from his long-standing IR spot. If the Ducks can limit Kane’s chances, and get some early shots on Crawford, they could back the Blackhawks into a corner early and take the upper hand like what happened to them against Tampa.