Date: Friday, February 15th, 2019
Time: 7:00 PT / 10:00 ET
Location: Honda Center
TV: PRIME, ESPN+, SN
Your Enemy: Stanley Cup of Chowder
The Anaheim Ducks waited until Randy Carlyle was gone to do exactly the thing that Randy Carlyle had been asking them to do since mid-December, and that’s win a close, low-scoring hockey game. The Ducks’ former head coach had been preaching that the Ducks needed to be tighter defensively until they could find a way to turn around their offensive struggles.
The offensive struggles were by no means resolved, with the only goal of the game coming from Jakob Silfverberg, but they were able to limit the high-danger chances from the Vancouver Canucks. Kevin Boyle put up a stellar 35-save shutout debut in the NHL to give the Ducks a much-needed 1-0 victory.
The Ducks will look to keep positive momentum rolling when they host the Boston Bruins tonight at Honda Center. The Bruins are a much more formidable opponent than the Canucks are, even with the absence of David Pastrnak. Currently sitting 3rd in the Atlantic Division, behind the Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs, the Bruins are 6-1-3 in their last 10 games and are coming off a 6-3 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks.
Kevin Boyle will get another chance to show that he deserves a chance in the NHL, and after the debut that he put up on Wednesday night expectations will be a lot higher for the 26-year-old netminder.
Player to Watch
The player I will be keeping a close eye on in this game is Max Jones. Max Jones had a phenomenal game for the Ducks against the Canucks but was unable to find the scoresheet, despite the fact that he created a lot offensively and had some very impressive shifts. The rookie looks confident making plays with the puck, and it is exactly what the Ducks need if they are going to turn around their offensive struggles. It’s not every day that you look to a 20-year old rookie to drive a team’s offense, but here we are.
Keys to the Game
Goaltending - The Ducks’ goaltending situation has been precarious with John Gibson, Ryan Miller, and Chad Johnson all injured. Ryan Miller is now back from injury and backed up Kevin Boyle on Wednesday night, and I imagine the lineup will look the same tonight. A lot of tonight’s game will rest on the shoulders of Kevin Boyle, so I hope to see more success from him tonight.
Penalty Kill - The Boston Bruins have the second best power play unit in the league, behind only the Tampa Bay Lightning, who essentially score goals at will. The Bruins power play sits at 26.8% on the season, so let’s try not to have any really dumb offensive zone penalties. That sound good to you, Nick Ritchie?
Try Not to Get Traded - This feels like a silly key to the game, but since winning and losing is pretty much arbitrary at this point in the season and I couldn’t bring myself to type the words “Have Fun” as a key to the game, I want the players to show Bob Murray that they deserve a chance to be part of the future in Anaheim. I am one of a few that still believes that the roster only needs minor tweaks to be ready for another run at the Cup, and I don’t believe that full-scale rebuild of the roster is necessary. The better the players play for the next week, the better chance they have of remaining in Anaheim moving forward.