Date: Friday, March 15th
Time: 6:00 PT / 9:00 ET
Location: Pepsi Center, Denver, CO
TV: FS-W, ALT
Your Enemy: Mile High Hockey
The Anaheim Ducks are coming off a less-than-stellar performance against the Arizona Coyotes that saw them walk out of Gila River Arena holding a 6-1 defeat. Ryan Miller did not have his best game and the Ducks offense struggled to put anything together in the offensive zone.
Now, the Ducks must turn their attention immediately to the Colorado Avalanche, another team on the bubble of a playoff spot that desperately needs points.
The Avalanche currently sit five points behind the Arizona Coyotes for the second Wild Card spot with only one game in hand, so this game against Anaheim needs to pull them within three points if they want to stay in the picture. The Coyotes have been red hot and will continue putting points on the board, so the Avs’ best hope is to keep up and hope for either the St Louis Blues or the Dallas Stars to falter, if the Coyotes will not.
The Avalanche continue to be the picture of inconsistency, with a top line that many regard as the best in the NHL, and not really a whole lot of elite pieces outside of that. They have some solid defensemen, decent offensive depth, and average goaltenders. However, they hold Ottawa’s first round pick in the upcoming 2019 NHL Entry Draft, and it appears that the Ottawa Senators are going to give the Avalanche a really good shot at Jack Hughes or Kaapo Kakko.
Player to Watch
The player I will be watching in this game against the Avalanche is Troy Terry. Terry faltered with the rest of the Ducks offense in Arizona, but that doesn’t mean that he is no longer a hot scoring option. The Avalanche are a quick team that thrives on odd-man rushes, which means the Ducks may get a few of their own. I’ll be curious to see if Terry has the ability to locate these opportunities and put himself in a good position to earn scoring chances.
Keys to the Game
1. Since winning doesn’t really matter for Anaheim anymore, my only real key to the game is to see development from the youngsters. The Ducks know what they have in John Gibson and Ryan Miller as a goaltender tandem, they know what they have in their tenured veterans, and the youth of the Ducks will truly determine the future. The more progress they can make and the more experience they can gain against teams playing in “playoff mode”, the better.