Date: Thursday, December 20th
Time: 4:00 PT / 7:00 ET
Location: TD Garden
The Ducks fell victim to the Rangers Tuesday night, after receiving their own taste of a late comeback. In their defense, they were playing the second-half of a back-to-back set and their tanks were pretty empty by the final period. Regardless, Anaheim will look to get back in the win column tonight as they make their way through Boston to take on the Bruins.
Despite losing their previous game, Anaheim has been one of the best teams in the NHL as of late. In their previous ten games they’ve gone 8-2-0, which is tied for 2nd best in the league over that span. They’ve been getting consistent scoring chances from all four of their lines and John Gibson remains in Vezina-winning form.
The Bruins on the other hand have been under performing by their standards, going 5-5-0 over their last 10 games and currently sitting in a wild card spot. Besides a man named David Pastrnak, the team is struggling to find scorers and it’s resulted in them falling behind in a division that looks very scary at the top. They’ve also gotten unreliable goaltending from both Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak.
Keys to the Game
Generate shots and get to the net. What’s the saying, “get to the net and good things happen”? Recently, Anaheim has found ways to get to loose pucks in front of the net and make something happen with them. The Bruins currently have the lowest goals against this season, which means they’re blocking shot attempts. The Ducks need to focus on finding open lanes when shooting and battling hard to win those up-close puck battles if/when they’re blocked.
Win the top line battle. The Ducks top line has been lethal. Ryan Getzlaf’s age doesn’t seem to be affecting him at all as he continues to win puck battles and find his wingers in open spaces to generate scoring chances. On the other side, David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand are equally lethal when given the opportunity. They may not have Patrice Bergeron playing at the moment, but Pastrnak is top ten in the league in goal-scoring and Marchand makes you pay lickety-split (pun intended) when given space.
Players to Watch
For the Ducks, it’s John Gibson. He is a force for the team and is typically the key decider on how the Ducks’ game goes. When he’s on (which he usually is), he’s downright unbeatable just infuriating to opposing teams. Look for him to be the standout yet again and make some stellar saves against Pastrnak and company. For the Bruins, it’s the aforementioned Pasta man. He’s just fun to watch score goals and he’s really good at it also. If the Bruins get on the board, he’ll most likely be the one pulling the trigger.