The Anaheim Ducks are set to embark on a season long fifteen day, eight game road trip. The Ducks are travelling to the Eastern seaboard and will be facing opponents in the Metropolitan and Atlantic divisions. The road trip kicks off in Toronto where the Ducks play tonight. Both of these squads are talked about a lot in terms of advanced hockey statistics. Mostly in regards to the supposed measure of luck known as PDO, which is shooting percentage plus save percentage. Many analysts consider their numbers too high and that both teams will regress. With a small sample size still under ten games only time will tell for both teams’ success.
Boudreau has decided to switch his lines up, what a surprise. With Penner out the top line spot goes to Kyle Palmieri. Emerson Etem is now shifting up to the second line with Selanne and Mathieu Perrault. Jakob Silfverberg will be on the 4th line with Patrick Maroon and Nick Bonino. While it appears to be a demotion, it may be a way for Silfverberg to have more opportunities. I would like to see some shifts with Getzala and Perry, with Boudreau’s penchant for line juggling it just might happen.
The match-up tonight pits Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, and Francois Beauchemin against their former coach. These three thrived under Carlyle’s system as he rode his top line hard, all usually averaging over 22 minutes a game. Former Ducks aren’t just behind the bench. The career of Joffrey Lupul started with the Ducks and subsequently the resurrection from his back injury. He was then dealt with Jake Gardiner to the Leafs for Francois Beauchemin.
Although Beauchemin has become top tier defender with the Ducks, giving up that value was quite a shock to the fans. The Ducks are also familiar with Jonathan Bernier seeing him in a few games against him in his tenure with Los Angeles Kings. Jonas Hiller will get the start for tonight with Fasth still fighting a lower body injury.
The scope of this road has the team has off to a fantastic start going 5-0 at Honda Center. They are currently riding a seven game winning streak, with all of the momentum on their side the Ducks squad has to continue their winning ways. The team has addressed the issue of being outshot but still needs to work on defensive zone coverage. The Ducks also dealt with neutral zone speed and always seem to keep their feet moving which is helping the defenders ability to move the puck out of the zone. The Ducks appear to be energized and working well as a team. The onus is on them to come out early and continue the up tempo game that has been serving them well early this season. The Ducks also have the added motivation to keep up with the torrid pace of the San Jose Sharks.
“It was a good character win, coming back from two goals. This team never stopped believing we could come back, even last year. That’s the one strength we have right now. Teemu Selanne
The Ducks then travel to Montreal to face a banged up squad on Thursday. Max Pacioretty, the Habs star forward is out with a shoulder injury. The Canadiens are also missing Brandon Prust and Daniel Briere. The banged up squad is missing some firepower but will still be a challenge for the Ducks squad. Look for the larger Ducks to set the tempo physically in this matchup.
The Ducks then travel to Ottawa for another match up with the Senators. Fans of Bobby Ryan will have another chance to see the former standout player in action. The Senators have had woes on defense yielding a lot of shots to their opponents. The Ducks did just break their single game record for shots in a game against the Senators on October 13th with a whopping 56.
The rest of the road trip boasts match-ups with former Western Conference Columbus Blue Jackets. The Philadelphia Flyers, Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, and wrapping up against the New York Rangers. The match-up I’m most excited is against the Bruins just see how the Ducks stack up against a contender in the East. This road trip will define the Ducks success early this season, whether it is a fluke or they are the real deal.
The Ducks are a bit banged up but will be have some players returning. Luca Sbisa is close to a return from an ankle injury. While Viktor Fasth is skating again, although he doesn’t feel game ready. Dustin Penner did not travel with the team, and early symptoms point to a concussion, further tests will determine its severity. Devante Smith-Pelly was called up from Norfolk to fill in for the injured Penner.
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Tags: Anaheim Ducks Bobby Ryan Corey Perry Daniel Briere Devante Smith-Pelly Dustin Penner Francois Beauchemin Frederik Andersen Jake Gardiner Jakob Silfverberg Joffrey Lupul Jonas Hiller Jonathan Bernier Kyle Palmieri Los Angeles Kings Luca Sbisa Mathieu Perrault Max Pacioretty Montreal Canadiens Nick Bonino Ottawa Senators Randy Carlyle Ryan Getzlaf San Jose Sharks Teemu Selanne Toronto Maple Leafs Viktor Fasth