Thursday, February 1st, 4:00PM PST
Canadian Tire Centre, Ottawa, Canada
TV: RDS2, TSN5, PRIME
Radio: AM 830
Your Enemy: Silver Seven Sens
The Anaheim Ducks continue their road trip on Thursday night as they travel to Canada’s capital to take on the Ottawa Senators, looking to extend their winning streak to four games.
The Senators have lost six in a row and are 3-7-0 in their last 10 contests. They hold a 9-11-5 record on home ice this season and have yet to show any signs of the spark that carried them to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals last spring. The team has struggled offensively, scoring only 125 goals in the 48 games they have played (2.60 goals per game).
The Ducks are coming off a 3-1 victory in Boston on Tuesday night that pulled them closer to the divisional race shaping up among the California teams. Los Angeles currently sits tied with Anaheim with 59 points while San Jose sits a point ahead of both, at 60. The Ducks have now won three in a row and will look to extend their win streak to four against the struggling Senators.
All Eyes On Me
The Ducks will need to avoid falling into the trap of playing down to the level of their competition, and this means pointing to the leader: Ryan Getzlaf. The Ducks have been known to play well when Getzlaf plays well and struggle when he struggles. Having him play well is essential to the Ducks being able to find a way to claim the two points in Ottawa.
If the team underperforms against a team that has lost six straight, it may be easy to blame the coaching staff, but in a situation like this, with a potential move into the playoff picture on the line, everyone is responsible here. If Ryan Getzlaf can get the team off on the right foot early in the game, the Ducks should be able to find a way to start their road trip 2-0.
Keys to the Game
1. Special Teams - The special teams units were both successful on Tuesday night against the Boston Bruins, with the penalty kill going a perfect 4/4 and the power play unit recording a goal through Adam Henrique. If the Ducks can continue to capitalize on their opportunities, they should be able to get a few pucks in behind Craig Anderson.
2. Cut Nick Ritchie’s Ice Time - Nick Ritchie will not be facing any disciplinary action from the Department of Player Safety regarding his hit on David Backes late in the game against Boston, but hopefully Randy Carlyle takes that into his own hands. Ritchie has not earned the right to play as many minutes as the guys around him, and Carlyle could prevent the Ducks from getting into some sticky situations if he just leaves Ritchie off the ice.
3. Goaltender Situation - Ideally, having neither of the two star goaltenders on the roster injured would be nice. However, I’m willing to be understanding of baby steps, and just hoping that Ryan Miller can make it through the game without any injury scares. John Gibson did not participate in the skate on Wednesday, and it is doubtful that he will be the starter for the game in Ottawa.