Date: Thursday, March 14th
Time: 7:00 PT / 10:00 ET
Location: Gila River Arena, Glendale AZ
Your Enemy: Five For Howling
The Anaheim Ducks are embarking on their second of four back-to-backs this month. Last week they were able to win the first game against the Arizona Coyotes. It seems only fitting that they begin this back-to-back once again against the Coyotes. Not only is it the second time these teams will faceoff in a week, it’s also the final time they will play this season.
With so few games left in the season, you might think the Ducks have little to play for, especially with the coveted lottery pick very much a possibility for Anaheim. However, I don’t think the Ducks odds will improve much (if they lose out) with how the teams below them are performing. Instead, I’d like to believe this final stretch of the season is a chance for the Ducks to earn some pride and confidence back for themselves. In addition, the young Ducks certainly have something more to prove as they want to be on this roster next season as well.
The Arizona Coyotes have a lot on the line with this game, which will be the underlying reason for the Ducks to come out playing their best. I mean, what’s more fun than playing a team teetering the playoff line and spoiling their chances (insert the Canadiens game last week)? The Ducks did the Yotes no favors last week when they defeated them 3-1, and they’ll look to continue the generosity (or lack thereof).
Keys to the Game
Rinse and Repeat
The Ducks got the job done last week against this team. They came out with pressure and got the first goal early. The played well defensively, actually keeping a team under 25 shots. And they put the hurt on during the 3rd period and didn’t let up, tacking on the game-winer and an insurance goal. So how about the Ducks just go out and repeat what they did last time?
Keep Being Creative
Being essentially out of the playoff race does have its perks. It has allowed the Ducks to try new things in order to find out what works. That’s involved switching up lines, giving more opportunities to the ducklings, and altering the way they play. It’s resulted in the Ducks play becoming much better on both sides of the puck. Their defensive pairings are performing better, they’re one of the top teams in the league at generating scoring chances (over the last few weeks), they have a legitimate powerplay unit and a strategy, and several players have taken off on the score sheet. So just keep up the creativity.
Players to Watch For
Jakob Silfverberg - Why wouldn’t you bet on the him right now? He’s been the best player on the team over the past two weeks and doesn’t show any sign of reeling it back. When a player has the hot stick just get him on the ice and keep feeding him pucks to make plays.