Date: Sunday, March 17th
Time: 6:00 PT / 9:00 ET
Location: Honda Center, Anaheim, CA
TV: FS-W, FS-F
Your Enemy: Litter Box Cats
The Anaheim Ducks will host the Florida Panthers on Sunday night in a game that probably won’t matter for either team in the grand scheme of things by the end of the regular season. The Ducks’ recent improvement in play has taken them more or less out of the conversation for Jack Hughes or Kaapo Kakko. The Florida Panthers, barring a miraculous final ten games of the season, will miss the playoffs yet again.
Bob Murray has stated that he just wants the team to end the season on a positive no, in order to begin finding momentum and chemistry for next season, as well as help him to identify which players belong as part of the solution in the future of Anaheim and those that don’t.
The Ducks will most likely see John Gibson in net tonight, which should bode well for the Ducks’ chances to win. However, anybody that has watched Ducks hockey over the last few years knows that the Florida Panthers have been one of those teams that seem to have the Ducks’ number. Even when the Ducks were a top team in the West and the Panthers were in the cellar of the East, the Ducks would find themselves losing 6-1 decisions to these Panthers. With both teams facing mediocrity at best this season, it will be interesting to see how the game plays out.
Player to Watch
I will be watching Rickard Rakell in this game tonight. Rakell has been relatively quiet recently and with the big boss behind the bench looking to make decisions for the future, it would be a really good time for Rakell to step up and prove that he wants to remain in Anaheim as part of the Ducks’ future. As a huge Rickard Rakell fan, I would be very worried heading into the offseason if the winger is unable to find any scoring touch before the season closes.
Keys to the Game
1. Score - Seems obvious, but it would be nice to see the Ducks offense come alive again against a team that hasn’t been the most stout defensively this year.
2. Feed the Kids - More Max Jones and Troy Terry please
3. Prevent 2-on-1s - The Florida Panthers have skilled forwards that can carry good speed through the neutral zone. Don’t let them utilize that, for John Gibson’s sake.