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Ducks @ Maple Leafs PREVIEW: The Tank Rolls On

Let’s be real, we’re not optimistic about this game.

NHL: Toronto Maple Leafs at Anaheim Ducks Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Game 53

Date: Monday, February 4th, 2019

Time: 4:00 PST / 7:00 EST

Location: Scotiabank Arena


Radio: AM830

Your Enemy: Pension Plan Puppets

The second game of the Canadian road trip brings the Ducks to –

/Checks notes

Oh, god, no.

After what many would argue was one of the worst losses in franchise history to the Winnipeg Jets, the Ducks will have to figure out a way to neutralize one of the best offensive teams in the league in Toronto.

If there’s one solace for the Ducks, it’s that the Leafs haven’t been quite as dominant this year. They currently have a 5-6-1 record over their last 12 games, largely due to the fact that they haven’t been as able to outscore their problems with 2.91 goals for per game as opposed to 3.69 goals for per game in the 39 games before that.

Combined with their troubles defending opposing offenses, a team should be able to give the Leafs a run for their money if they can attack hard and put up a lot of shots on net.

I said a team because we all know the Ducks aren’t going to be the ones to make Fredrick Andersen sweat, given their recent performance.

Anaheim will get a first look at a familiar face in a different sweater when they go up against Toronto’s major trade acquisition, Jake Muzzin.

Muzzin spent 496 games over eight seasons with the LA Kings while establishing himself as one of the most underrated defensive blueliners in the game. The Leafs went big in an attempt to help shore up their leaky defense, which will make the Ducks task all the more difficult.

Keys to the Game

Get shots on net: Let’s be real, this probably isn’t going to happen. But as I’ve said many times before, hockey is a ridiculous game where the opposite of what you think will happen often happens. Regardless of whether or not the Ducks will actually do it, this is one of the best ways to beat the Maple Leafs.

STOP HANGING GIBSON OUT TO DRY: The fact that the team had to plead with Carlyle to pull John Gibson after letting in six goals on Saturday is insane.

It would be even better if it never got to that point and the team could, you know, actually defend. If they couldn’t defend (especially on the power play) against the Jets, then the Ducks might as well just all sit on the bench and let the Leafs play five on one against Gibson. It would be basically the same thing.

Let’s just hope these performances don’t lead to a Patrick Roy situation.

Look like you give a damn: Look, I think most of us have come to terms with the fact that making the playoffs this season might be the worst possible outcome for the Ducks immediate future. Another low first round draft pick when the massive holes in this team have been so thoroughly exposed would make it very difficult for the Ducks to get back to contending anytime soon.

But the last several games it just looks like the team doesn’t care. At all. It’s one thing to lose while giving it your all because you’re just not good enough. It’s an entirely different thing to get blown out and look like you’d rather be golfing already.

For the sake of watchability for the fans, please just look like you actually want to score a goal or two.