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Ducks vs Penguins PREVIEW: Battle of the Birds

Ducks continue their homestand as they take on the Penguins.

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at Anaheim Ducks Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Game 64

Date: Friday, February 28, 2020

Time: 7:00 PM PST

Location: Honda Center

TV: Prime Ticket

Radio: AM 830

The Anaheim Ducks are undefeated since the trade deadline and they plan on keeping it that way as they get ready to face the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight. Anaheim is looking like a very different team after the deadline, what with the newly acquired players and the injuries to their blueline. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the lineups changing constantly as the Ducks management tests to see what could work and what doesn’t.

Despite the changes, the injuries on the defense still leave a lot to worry about. Hampus Lindholm is day-to-day, while Cam Folwer and Erik Gudbranson are out for considerably more time. The current blueline on the ice for the Ducks is arguably one of the worst in the league because of the injuries, unfortunately. However, with newcomers Sonny Milano and Danton Heinen making immediate impacts on the team, I’m sure the Ducks will be able get a win against the Penguins.

The Penguins, who are in the midst of a 4 game losing streak, were also very active on the deadline. They’ll have some adjusting to do as they added several winger to their lineup, but in the long-run they’re hoping it helps them battle for another Stanley Cup. And some of the pieces they added certainly look to do that. Jason Zucker is a great two-way forward, and reuniting Conor Sheary with Sidney Crosby was a no-brainer.

Keys to the Game

Depth scoring. The Ducks top two lines are going to have their hands full taking on a lines lead by Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. This leaves the door open for a depth line to step in as the hero. Max Jones, Sam Steel and Jakob Silfverberg could certainly be a strong line against one of the bottom Penguins lines.

Defensive responsibility. I know that the top Oilers line has some speed, but man did the Ducks blow some coverages and let them skate right by far too often. Pittsburgh has some speed as well, and with the Ducks blueline as damaged as it is, there needs to be some responsibility on from the defensemen. They can’t be letting skaters get by them uncovered, leaving Gibson or Miller out to dry.

Players to Watch For

Everybody knows the things Sidney Crosby can do. And Malkin isn’t very far behind in the playmaking department. But who cares about either of them when we have Sonny “the scoring sensation” Milano on our roster. If the Penguins aren’t careful, they’ll be seeing hats on the ice by the 2nd period.