Date: Friday, January 11th
Time: 7:00 PT / 10:00 ET
Location: Honda Center
TV: Fox Sports Prime, PRIT
The Enemy: Pensburgh
The Anaheim Ducks will look to break their record-breaking nine-game losing streak when they host the Pittsburgh Penguins at Honda Center to wrap up a six-game home-stand. Obviously, with the current losing streak, the Ducks will still be looking for their first win on this homestand before they embark on a five-game road trip.
The Ducks are coming off a frustrating 2-1 overtime loss to the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday night in a game that saw them blow a 1-0 lead in the third period. They continued to get outplayed until the Senators eventual won in overtime. There are certainly a lot of questions surrounding the Anaheim Ducks right now, and a win would do a lot for helping the team turn the page to put this all behind them.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are looking to continue their recent trend of winning, as they are 9-1-0 in their last ten contests. Winners of 11 of their last 13, the Penguins have been finding ways to score and have been finding ways to shut down other teams’ top talents. It will certainly be a challenge for the Ducks to keep up with the Penguins tonight, but it could also offer exactly the kind of remedy that they need.
The Ducks’ last win, ironically enough, came against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the East Coast road trip before the Christmas break—a 4-2 victory on December 17th. A win against a team that has been performing highly and winning games would do well for the Anaheim mental state, for both players and fans. Fans have been rightfully frustrated that they continually spend money and invest time to watch a team that seems to have little interest in changing, and that frustration can mount when the players seem to think that things are going to be okay if they stick to their game plan.
National media has begun to circle around the Ducks during this losing streak and focus in particular on the job security of head coach Randy Carlyle. There has been little indication from Bob Murray that Randy’s job is in any danger at all, and he has said before that Carlyle will at the very least be the head coach until the end of the season.
That being said, it is hard to imagine that Carlyle will survive another week or two if the Ducks still cannot find a win somewhere. After tonight’s home game, the next game that appears to be the most “winnable” is on Tuesday night against the Detroit Red Wings, who are 2-6-2 in their last ten contests. The Ducks will play the Winnipeg Jets prior to that game on Sunday night. If the Ducks arrive in Detroit on an 11-game losing streak, it’s difficult to imagine Carlyle is still the coach by the end of that road trip. But hey, that’s just me. I’m not Bob Murray.
Player to Watch
The player I will be watching in this game is none other than Captain Dad himself, Ryan Getzlaf. Getzlaf had a goal and an assist when the Ducks met the Penguins just under a month ago in Pittsburgh, and with Rickard Rakell back in the lineup (he missed the first game against PIT), I expect Getzlaf to appear on the scoresheet again. It has been said for years now that the Ducks go as Getzlaf goes, and if the Ducks are going to break this losing streak, he needs to lead the charge and be a major contributor on offense. I expect that from him tonight.
Keys to the Game
Discipline - The Ducks need to be very careful about taking penalties when you are going against an offense led by Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Phil Kessel. The Penguins have the sixth ranked power play in the league, and the Ducks simply cannot afford an undisciplined game tonight. The Penguins also boast the fourth best penalty kill in the league, so I’m not going to expect a whole lot from a struggling Anaheim power play either.
Sidney Crosby - Crosby has been a key in any game he has played in; probably for his entire life. The talent is undeniable, and as much as people want to say that he whines and complains and cries too much, he also scores a lot. If the Ducks defense has a breakdown when Crosby is on the ice, you can bet that Anaheim will be picking that puck out of the back of their net.
Passing - Passing seemed to be a real struggle for the Ducks against the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday. It seems like such a silly key to the game to put a literal basic aspect of hockey, but if the Ducks can’t navigate through the neutral zone and end up turning the puck over they are going to lose, plain and simple.
All this being said, I have a good feeling about tonight. I expect the Ducks to come out strong and finally put an end to this abysmal losing streak against a good team in the Pittsburgh Penguins. Give me a 4-1 Ducks victory, as John Gibson makes some spectacular saves to keep the Ducks ahead, and the Ducks finally find a bit of an offensive groove with the return of Rickard Rakell in the lineup.
How Do You Think This Game Will Go?
This poll is closed
Ducks Win Big
Ducks Win A Close One
Penguins Win A Close One
Penguins Win Big