The Anaheim Ducks are home! After a few days off they will host the Chicago Blackhawks who were shutout by the Los Angeles Flyers, I mean Kings. Now they head into Honda Center looking to sweep the season series against the Ducks. Here are some things to look for:
1. First Matchup Against the “Better” Ducks:
The first three matchups so far this season haven’t exactly been against the Ducks at their best time. That will finally happen in this game. However, not too long ago, the Blackhawks had their own miserable stretch of their own, losing nine in a row. They’ve righted the ship a bit but are still only 4-6-0 in their last 10.
2. Corey Crawford or Ray Emery?:
Crawford has been the starter for the Blackhawks but was pulled in a bad effort last night in LA. He allowed all four of the Kings goals within the first 25 minutes. Ray Emery then came in and stopped all 20 of the shots he faced. I haven’t seen any conclusive report on who will start for the Hawks just yet. My money would be on Ray Emery though.
3. Patrick Sharp enjoys playing against the Ducks:
On a team with a lot of big name forwards, it is Patrick Sharp that has been the best against the Ducks this season. In the three games this season, Sharp has scored 5 goals and also tallied an assist for 6 points.
4. Teemu Selanne and Andrew Cogliano:
After the first three matchups, only two Ducks are in the positives when it comes to plus/minus. They would be Teemu Selanne, +3, and Andrew Cogliano, +2. Well, Selanne is a plus against basically every team, so that shouldn’t be a surprise. Cogliano however has had his ups and downs. He’s shown flashes of the talent he has. Let’s hope he can continue to play well, use his speed and open up some ice.
That probably wouldn’t sound that good but worth a try. He is the best player on the team right now in my opinion. Yes, even Perry and Selanne. The numbers he has put up during this second half have been stellar and just what the doctor ordered. If he stays at the pace he is going right now, if the Ducks make the playoffs, he will make it difficult for anybody to score.
The Ducks right now are 13th in the conference. Dallas, Minnesota and San Jose also play today, they are 8th, 69 points, 12th, 63 points, and 7th, 71 points, respectively. If the Ducks win, they will have 64 points which will make them 3 points back of Calgary for 11th. If the Sharks beat Minnesota and the Ducks win, the Ducks will jump into 12th, still 3 points back of Calgary but 4 points back of the cluster of teams with 68 points. If the Canucks beat the Stars, with the other scenarios I mentioned working out, the Ducks would just be 4 points out of a playoff spot, but would have four teams to pass in order to get there. However, there are a lot of points still available and a lot can happen.
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