Anaheim Ducks: Keys to Opening Night Win

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Sep 28, 2014; Anaheim, CA, USA; Anaheim Ducks right wing Emerson Etem (16) celebrates with his team after scoring a goal against the Los Angeles Kings during the second period at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

The Anaheim Ducks’ mediocre preseason ended on a high note, thanks to some late game heroics by Ryan Kesler and Corey Perry. In a game that saw the Ducks dominate for extended stretches of play, the team stared a 1-0 deficit and a fifth straight loss to end their preseason. However, Kesler knotted things up with 52 seconds to play, and then Perry won it in overtime with a power-play bomb to send the Ducks into the regular season with a quality win.

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Now, the games really count, as the Ducks go head-to-head against Pittsburgh Penguins in the igloo. Some will look at the four game road-trip to start the season as a negative, but I believe the opposite is true. Getting a chunk of the games in the Eastern Conference out of the way early isn’t so bad, as that lessens the travel load later in the season.

Also, the team has some new faces, and road trips are a great opportunity for further team-building, as guys spend more time together now than in the preseason. The camaraderie and bonds are an excellent thing to have happen right at the beginning of the season: it makes sense that players should perform better if they play with and for people they want to be around. Also, the Ducks have to be ready for a tough one from the outset, taking on a strong Penguins right away.

This team has star power and should be one of the favorites to make it out of the Eastern Conference. In order to start the season strong, here are some things the Ducks must do on Thursday.