Date: Saturday, January 18th, 2019
Time: 10:00AM PT / 1:00PM ET
Location: Prudential Center
TV: SN, MSG+, PRIME
Your Enemy: All About The Jersey
The Anaheim Ducks finally broke their franchise-record 12-game losing streak with a 3-0 shutout win over the Minnesota Wild. The team finally looked somewhat put together with the offense exploding for three goals in the opening nine minutes of the game which was followed by a shut down of the Wild offense for the remaining 51.
It certainly wasn’t the best Ducks performance of the year, and may not have even been their best performance in the last 12 games that they had lost. The difference was that there were no obvious breakdowns and no obvious soft goals given up by the team. Everyone did their jobs, and against a struggling Minnesota team, they were able to walk away with a comfortable much needed two points.
The Ducks are hoping to keep things moving in the right direction as they continue their road trip on Saturday morning in Newark where they will face off against the New Jersey Devils. The Devils have been on a struggle of their own recently, going only 4-6-0 in their last 10 games and losers of their last two. The Devils find themselves now 13 points behind the second Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference.
Both teams are still in desperate need of points as the calendar year has already turned and the push for the playoffs is underway. There are still over 30 games to go for both teams but these next couple weeks will be definitive for the course of the second half of the season.
Player to Watch
I will be keeping an eye on Max Jones in this game, as he made his NHL debut against the Minnesota Wild and seemed fairly comfortable, finding his legs more and more as the game went on. By the end of the game, he found himself in a couple scrums in front of the Minnesota net looking relaxed and confident. I want to see him push forward even more against New Jersey and create scoring opportunities for the Ducks, providing much needed offensive depth.
Keys to the Game
Goaltending - The Ducks know what they have in John Gibson every single game, and that’s a chance to win. The Devils have been facing some goaltender issues with injury to Cory Schneider and less-than-stellar performances from Keith Kinkaid (.899 SV% and a 3.11 GAA). This has led to Mackenzie Blackwood being their go-to guy, a rookie goalie out of the Barrie Colts from the OHL.
60 Minutes - Rickard Rakell stated in his postgame interview in Minnesota that he believed that the game against the Wild was their first full 60-minute performance in quite some time. I want to see if the Ducks can continue that effort level and understand the urgency for wins if they want to try to make the postseason.
Shoot, and Shoot A Lot - The Ducks are going up against a Devils team that is struggling defensively and allowing a lot of goals. For a team like Anaheim that has been struggling offensively for a long time now, this game provides the chance to be a relief to all four lines on the ice. Get the puck to the net, look for rebounds, and convert the second and third chances. Do that and another two points look like a very real possibility.