Date: Wednesday, February 13th, 2019
Time: 7:30 PT / 10:30 ET
Location: Honda Center
TV: PRIME, ESPN+, SN1
Your Enemy: Nucks Misconduct
The Anaheim Ducks will look to end their seven-game losing streak when they host the Vancouver Canucks at Honda Center tonight. The Ducks have lost 19 of their last 21 games and are now at the bottom of the Western Conference standings. The miserable road trip that saw them go winless through Eastern Canada is thankfully over and the team has had a few days off to regroup before this contest tonight.
Did I miss anything important?
Oh yeah, Randy Carlyle is gone and BOB MURRAY is going to be the head coach behind the Ducks bench tonight. That sounds...fine? A guy with zero coaching experience at any level of hockey is going to step in to evaluate his players under a microscope to see who might be part of the solution of the future and who might be packing their bags to play somewhere else by the February 25th trade deadline.
That doesn’t sound stressful at all for the players.
I guess the exciting and hopeful thing in all of this is that there are officially no more expectations moving forward. The Ducks don’t have John Gibson or Ryan Miller, now have a head coach with no coaching experience, and haven’t led a game since they led St Louis 1-0 on January 23rd before promptly giving up five unanswered goals and losing a 5-1 blowout decision.
The Ducks haven’t found a solution to scoring goals consistently and I can’t say I’m expecting significant improvement in that department.
However, I will go out on a limb and say that the Ducks end their losing streak tonight and beat the Canucks. With Carlyle finally gone, the team feeling relieved, and the added pressure of needing to perform well to show that you belong in Anaheim, I think the Ducks find a way to move the puck more efficiently than they have in the last month or two.
Player to Watch
With the Ducks looking to rebound from a terrible losing streak and now effectively without a head coach, I believe this is Ryan Getzlaf’s time to shine as Player Coach Captain Dad. The Ducks will desperately need leadership to push them through the next few games before the trade deadline, and Getzlaf will most likely be the one that they lean on to direct the team. Without Carlyle to enforce a particular system, I truly believe that Getzlaf can get the Ducks back to winning ways, at least temporarily.
Keys to the Game
Bob Murray - This is the most important key to the game in my opinion. The Ducks’ GM has been known to be emotional during games, on both the happiness and anger scales. If the game slips away early, the bench could be a dangerous place to hang out.
Chad Johnson/Kevin Boyle - I would assume that Chad Johnson will be given the start against the Canucks, but I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing Kevin Boyle get a shot at his first NHL start. The Ducks know what they have with Johnson (and it isn’t much), so why not give Boyle a fair chance to start and see if there is a good potential for development there?
Special Teams - The two keys above come together if the team remains disciplined. The goaltenders will stand no chance if the Ducks take a lot of penalties, and I’m sure Bob Murray’s raging anger from the bench won’t help morale too much in that scenario either. Just play a clean game and make sure you don’t give the Canucks too many power play opportunities.