Date: Thursday, January 2nd, 2020
Time: 6:00 PM PT
Location: Gila River Arena
Radio: AM 830
Your Enemy: Five For Howling
Welcome to the official halfway point of the 2019-20 Anaheim Ducks season! After the worst New Year’s Eve party ever hosted by the Vegas Golden Knights, the Anaheim Ducks will exchange one desert team for another when they take on the Arizona Coyotes in Glendale.
This ain’t your grandmother’s Yotes, however. After rebuilding for what seems like forever, the desert dogs currently sit in second place in the Pacific Division, just two points behind the Golden Knights. Why are they so good now? They don’t score much, and they’re not particularly great at suppressing shots and scoring chances.
Two main reasons:
- They have great goaltending (3rd best team SV% in the league)
- The Pacific Division is a flaming paper bag filled with poop left on the doorstep of the mean high school chemistry teacher by the class degenerates
Arizona General Manager John Chayka recognizes this of course, as evidenced by his recent trade for Taylor Hall from the New Jersey Devils. The 2010 first overall pick has provided some extra scoring prowess in his limited time so far, putting up four points (2 goals, 2 assists) in seven games to this point.
Nick Schmaltz has been most of the Coyotes’ offense this season, proving himself to be a valuable playmaker alongside Clayton Keller. Limiting the chances of those two leaves only the Arizona goalies for the Ducks to beat to get a shot at returning to the win column.
Arizona has a 1A/1B goaltending situation going on right now, with Antti Rantaa stopping 38 shots on route to a 3-1 victory over the defending Stanley Cup Champion St. Louis Blues. Don’t be surprised to see Darcy Kuemper take the net tonight against Anaheim.
As for the boys in white, they will need to prove that they have shaken off the bad loss in Vegas and come out with energy. John Gibson had some very direct comments about the team’s performance in front of him lately, and it’s difficult to fault him given the workload he is put under most nights.
“It’s frustrating when we go out and we’re not ready to play. It’s a privilege to play in the National Hockey League and it feels like some guys are taking it for granted.”-A frustrated John Gibson after the 5-2 loss in Vegas.— Jason R. Pothier (@JRPothier) December 31, 2019
Nothing like pissing off your best player to the point he makes comments to the media. Safe to say that Dallas Eakins will be trying some new things to motivate his club come game time.