The Anaheim Ducks embark on a 4 game road trip, hoping to string together a few wins starting in Chicago.
Life has been tough for our Anaheim Ducks since the turn of the calendar year. A relatively high scoring affair against Nashville kicked off a three-game homestand with a shootout victory. A victory so crushing to the Predators that they chose seppuku, falling upon their sword and removing their coach. However, this was to be the only victory of the homestand.
As has been a trend this season, the Ducks played their way in front before preceding to give up a bunch of goals against the currently hot running Columbus Blue Jackets. However, the last game against Dallas may have been the most crushing yet. Following a touching tribute to their former star and yeoman-like fan favorite, the Ducks laid a goose egg. In some ways, if was a shame that Corey Perry wasn’t on the ice to play against the Ducks in this one – just once I would have loved to see him “accidentally” fall into John Gibson, just to feel how other teams fans
have felt for the past decade. Alas, it was not to be.
Tonight, however, the Ducks commence a 4-game road trip prior to taking a 9-day break for the All-Star Game. They take on a similarly struggling Blackhawks team, which has lost the last two of its games and wallow but 5 standing points clear of the Ducks, with the Ducks holding a game in hand. For those fans who want to keep an eye on the opposition team, Dominik Kubalik may be one of the finds of season.
On a struggling Chicago team, Kubalik finds himself holding 58% of Corsi-for attempts and subsequent a ~58% expected-goal share. While shot metrics may not be the be-all and end-all, it’s easy to say that he’s blown past any pre-season predictions. His 14 goals on the season would tie him for second on the Ducks, with Adam Henrique. Not bad for an unknown player, and well worth keeping an eye on.
However, perhaps more importantly, Robin Lehner is likely to return to the net for this game against the Ducks. While not a celebrated name like the Ducks John Gibson, he’s more than held his own this season by posting a 12-7-4 record on the back of a .922 save percentage. With the Ducks offense trending towards the decline as the season grows long, Lehner may be tough to solve. The hope will be that he’s still just a little rusty following his injury-caused time off.
A further cause for optimism amongst the Ducks faithful may be the addition of Chase De Leo for the Ducks on this road trip. After playing his one game for the Ducks last season, he appears to have taken a backward step offensively this season in the AHL, notching only 13 points in 30 games. However, many fans have taken a liking to him following last season’s 55 points in 66 games, and barely blinked when he filed for arbitration this past summer.
Current Head Coach Dallas Eakins will know him well, and fans will hope that them reconnecting in the NHL will spark De Leo’s offensive game and help drive the Ducks forward and up the standings. Certainly, a hot hand and an offensive burst would do wonder’s in climbing over what is essentially a very poor Chicago team.
What You Need to Know Before Puck Drop
Game 45: Anaheim Ducks vs. Chicago Blackhawks
Season Record: 17-22-5
Location: United Center— Chicago, Illinois
Time: 5:30pm PST
TV: Prime Ticket
Tickets: Get your last minute tickets for tonight’s Anaheim Ducks vs Chicago Blackhawks contest for as low as $16, thanks to our friends at StubHub.
Anaheim Ducks News: The Anaheim Ducks have sent Troy Terry to San Diego for a conditioning stint, calling up Chase De Leo in his place.
If you’re searching for some depth along the waiver wire, you might be struggling to come into this game with these teams. The usual suspects of Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews lead the way for the Blackhawks, and there should be no surprises that Alex Debrincat is on someone in your league’s team despite him dropping a ton of goals from last seasons 41 goal effort. Dylan Strome, however, has been listed day to day and might be available to make a comeback against the Ducks after missing his last game against the Predators and most of the Calgary Flames game, with what looked to be a serious ankle injury. If you have other options it may be best to run with them, however, keep an eye out just in case. His 30 points in 40 games thus far could be hard to replace.
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The Anaheim Ducks, for the most part, have been ice cold of late and you should very likely only ice them as a last resort. John Gibson in the net cannot be trusted with the way the team is playing in front of him. At this stage, he’s almost as likely to give up 5 as he is to provide an above-average start. One thing is for sure, with only 5 regulation wins since the first day of November, Gibson shouldn’t be relied on to pad that statistic for you. Run him if you have him, but recognize that you’re likely to roll snake eyes somewhere down the line.
For Anaheim Ducks fans braving the Chicago faithful and entering into that den of thieves, be prepared to pack your snuggie and think about rugging up. The day will bring you a balmy 1º interspersed with sunshine and clouds. The nighttime, however, is looking to usher in a low of -2º with AccuWeather giving those real feels of -6º. The clouds are likely to come in and there is the chance to see a touch of snow. For an Aussie beach bum surfer like myself, it sounds like hell, but hey at least the ice should be good, right?
Anaheim Ducks Projected Lineup
The Anaheim Ducks Projected Lineup has been provided by NHL.com and is subject to change:
Starting Goaltender: John Gibson
Backup Goaltender: Ryan Miller
Healthy Scratches: Chase De Leo, Korbinian Holzer
Chicago Blackhawks Projected Lineup
The Chicago Blackhawks Projected Lineup has been provided by NHL.com and is subject to change:
Dominik Kubalik-Jonathan Toews-John Quenneville
Alex Nylander-Ryan Carpenter-Patrick Kane
Starting Goaltender: Robin Lehner
Backup Goaltender: Corey Crawford
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