The Anaheim Ducks were able to hold a lead in the last match-up between the Southern California hockey clubs. They are crawling their way back to a tie after losing their first two games at home to their Los Angeles rivals.
The Ducks entered the NHL playoffs as the top seed in the Western Conference, but struggled to make it past the Dallas Stars in the first round. Since continuing into the second round, they still struggled against the Kings.
As critical as it was for the Ducks to win the last game, it is even more critical for them to tie this series up with a win in Game 4. If Anaheim doesn’t win this every game turns into a must win.
Let’s get to strategy.
Keys to the Game:
1. Capitalize on the Power Play: The Ducks had 2 of 2 successful power plays in the last match up against the Kings, they need to continue to screen and work Jonathan Quick in order to remain successful.
2. Get the Goalie to Move: The Ducks were successful in the last game in part to getting Quick to move around and out of the crease. They had many scoring opportunities due to leading the goaltender out of the crease. They must continue this to score.
3. Play Simple: Part of Anaheim’s success in the last game was that they simplified their game. In playing a simple game of just getting shots on goal, they succeeded in taking the win. They should continue to keep a simple playing style.
1. Start aggressively: If LA starts off the game on an aggressive note, it may throw the Ducks off their plan. In the last game, they played a very passive style, this led to their loss. To win, they must switch that up.
2. Press the Crease: When the Kings have put a great amount of pressure on net, they scored. They should continue in order to get the win.
Players to Watch:
1. Corey Perry has been on top of his game and provided a power play goal for the Ducks during the last game. They will need him in order to take the win.
2. Devante Smith-Pelly has been pressuring the net and has had many opportunities to score. It’s time the pressure pays off with a goal.
1. Marian Gaborik has been on his game lately and much to the chagrin of the Ducks, he has been successful at scoring against them. He will continue to put pressure as long as no one stops him.
2. Anze Kopitar has not scored for a little while and as one of the King’s top goal scorers he is due to score. He handles the puck very well and tends to make his way around the defense. This will pay off if he continues.
Jonas Hiller: 2-2-1, 1.99 GAA, .918 SV%
Jonathan Quick: 6-4-1, 2.72 GAA, .920 SV%
Both teams will definitely play their hearts out as the Kings would like to take a commanding lead over the Ducks. Anaheim will do their best to get the series tied to come back home on a high note.
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