Date: Wednesday, November 14th
Time: 7:30 PT / 10:30 ET
Location: T-Mobile Arena
The Enemy: Knights on Ice
The Anaheim Ducks are coming off of a shocking 2-1 shootout victory over the Nashville Predators in a performance that I don’t think fans of either team were expecting. The Predators had been rolling and were yet to lose on the road this season, while the Ducks couldn’t seem to figure out how to suppress any shots at all and left their goaltenders to be under siege on a nightly basis.
However, for some reason (Ondrej Kase?) the Ducks were able to put together a solid performance outside of the discipline. The Ducks only allowed 35 shots through regulation and the overtime period, and that includes giving Nashville seven power play opportunities. On that alone, the Ducks probably did not deserve two points from the game, but the penalty kill looked strong and they limited high danger chances, giving themselves an opportunity to stay in the game.
In any case, the Ducks seem to either play extremely well or extremely poorly. There hasn’t seemed to be much “in between” for this team, where on most nights, they look like a contender for having really high odds in the Draft Lottery, and then occasionally looks like a team that could probably sneak into the playoffs and cause some trouble. You never really know which Ducks team you are going to get on a nightly basis, and that has provided Ducks fans with....amusement, I suppose (if that’s your twisted sense of humor).
Player to Watch
Unfortunately, news broke yesterday that both Patrick Eaves and Cam Fowler have been added to the IR, increasing the never-ending list of injuries that the Ducks go through on what feels like a yearly basis now. This means that someone will need to pick up that slack defensively for a player of Fowler’s caliber that plays a lot of minutes, and I am looking to Hampus Lindholm to fill that void. Lindholm hasn’t been overly impressive thus far this year (no Ducks have, to be honest), but with Fowler out, Lindholm will no doubt be called on to play more and I hope that the extra ice time will give him more opportunities to create for Anaheim.
Keys to the Game
1) Special Teams - The Ducks gave up seven power play opportunities to the Nashville Predators and were lucky to escape without allowing a single power play goal. I can promise you that if the Vegas Golden Knights get seven power play opportunities, the Ducks lose this game by 5+ goals.
2) Contain the Speed - It’s no surprise to people anymore that the Ducks aren’t the fastest team in the league, despite their desires to “play faster”. The Vegas Golden Knights, however, are. Their top line can skate circles around most of the Ducks roster and if the Ducks aren’t careful, it could be a repeat of the 45-18 shots on goal differential the Ducks saw against the Knights less than a month ago on October 20th.
3) The Coin Flip - Which Ducks team will appear for this game? The team that creates scoring opportunities and knows how to prevent opposing players from torturing John Gibson? Or will it be the team that gives up as many shots on goal as the other team wishes to record at freewill with little to no opposition? One of these Ducks teams is more likely to win than the other.