Date: Monday, October 14th, 2019
Time: 10:00 PM PT
Location: TD Garden
TV: Fox Sports Prime Ticket
Radio: AM 830
Your Enemy: Stanley Cup Of Chowder
Wake up! It’s a beautiful morning; the sun is shining, the Santa Ana winds are making us all wheeze, our power may or may not be out, and wait a minute there’s a hockey game at 10:00 AM?
That’s right. This season, the Anaheim Ducks get the honor of visiting the Boston Bruins for their annual Columbus Day matinee match. Or Indigenous Peoples Day, if you like your holidays to be less about celebrating terrible people and more about the original Americans.
The Ducks will face their biggest test of the young season this morning in a Bruins team that many have pegged as one of the Stanley Cup favorites. Their 4-1-0 start, along with their relatively unexciting two most recent games, will be put to the test as Anaheim will be looking to keep the puck away from the Bruins vaunted top line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and David Pasternak.
Asking the Ducks to both limit the damage of that line and find ways to increase offense may prove to be difficult for this young team. But it’s also hockey, a magical, unpredictable game where one of the greatest regular season teams of all time can be swept by an eight-seed, where the Edmonton Oilers can somehow start the season off 5-0-0, and where the league’s first overall pick five games in still hasn’t shown up on a scoresheet.
Beating the Bruins also involved beating goaltender Tuukka Rask, who has gotten off to a great start this season allowing only four goals in his three games played. After a brilliant Stanley Cup Playoffs last year that saw his team lose in seven games to the St. Louis Blues, the starting goaltender of the reigning Eastern Conference champions will likely continue his strong play in an effort to help backstop his team to another long postseason.
Keys To The Game
- Limit the first line damage: As mentioned earlier, the Bruins top line is arguably the best in hockey. They score like crazy and seem to never give up the puck. The Selke Trophy might be a reputation award, but at least Patrice Bergeron has earned that reputation. It’s usually not a matter of if you can stop this trio, it’s mostly a matter of limiting the damage.
- Get the power play going: Anyone watching Ducks games this season can tell the power play looks much more threatening than at any point in the last several seasons. Cross-ice movement and one-timers are now the new normal for Dallas Eakins’ man-advantage scheme. However, they have yet to convert on the power play this season. Results will come, but until they do, not taking advantage of special teams opportunities will limit the Ducks upside.
- Protect Gibson: After the first couple of games looking like John Gibson wouldn’t have to be lined up in front of a firing squad, recent games have looked a little too much like last season in terms of shot volume against. Yes, it’s not reasonable to expect a Ducks team with this questionable blueline personnel to be defensive stalwarts, but getting back to giving Gibson even an average workload through responsible defensive play will do wonders for the best goaltender on the planet.