Anaheim Ducks Line Rushes vs. Chicago Blackhawks: 11/28/2014


The Anaheim Ducks conclude their three-game homestand and finish their third game of their six-game California swing with a rare afternoon game. Their opponent is the Chicago Blackhawks, widely considered as one of the strongest teams, top to bottom, in the entire league. The Blackhawks are 13-8-1 and sit in third place in the Central Division standings. Chicago is ranked in the top 10 in the NHL in goals per game (8th, 2.86), goals against per game (3rd, 2.09), power-play percentage (9th, 20.6%), penalty kill percentage (1st, 90.6%), and faceoff win percentage (4th, 52.6%).

For the Ducks, Kyle Palmieri has been strong since his return from a high-ankle sprain, scoring three goals in his first five games this season, including the eventual game-winning goal on Tuesday against the Calgary Flames. Matt Beleskey has been on an unreal tear to start the season, scoring ten goals in 23 games after scoring just nine in 55 games last season. Beleskey is one goal away from tying his career-high of 11, and the pending unrestricted free agent is already making a case for himself in what appears to be a fairly thin free agent market this upcoming offseason. Rickard Rakell will once again be scratched, while Devante Smith-Pelly will take over as the fourth line center again.

According to Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register, here are the expected lineups for both teams tonight.

Anaheim Ducks Forward Lines:

Beleskey – Ryan GetzlafCorey Perry
Patrick MaroonRyan Kesler – Palmieri
Andrew CoglianoNate ThompsonJakob Silfverberg
Rene Bourque – Smith-Pelly – Tim Jackman

On the Ducks’ defense, Francois Beauchemin left the game Tuesday against Calgary with what was deemed an “upper-body injury” after he blocked a shot with his hand. Beauchemin has already missed five games with the mumps virus this season. Clayton Stoner is expected to return to the lineup after experiencing “mumps-like symptoms” and not playing the past two games against the Arizona Coyotes and Calgary Flames. Josh Manson has quickly become one of the Ducks’ most reliable defensemen, averaging 19:08 of ice time per game, which is seventh on the team.

Anaheim Ducks Defense Pairings:

Cam Fowler – Manson
Hampus LindholmMat Clark
Stoner – Sami Vatanen

For the Blackhawks, they are coming off a 3-2 comeback victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday. Chicago is in the midst of their annual “Circus Trip”, and they are 3-1-0 on their six-game road trip, which concludes with games against the Ducks today and the Los Angeles Kings tomorrow. Patrick Kane leads the Blackhawks in scoring with 21 points and is tied for the team lead in assists with Marian Hossa (13). Meanwhile, captain Jonathan Toews leads the Blackhawks with ten goals. The Blackhawks’ young duo signed matching eight year, $84 million extensions this offseason (they would have become unrestricted free agents on July 1st, 2015). Patrick Sharp has missed the past nine games with a knee injury, but they are getting contributions from other players, such as Kris Versteeg (who has seven goals this season and seven points in his past five games). Brad Richards is centering the second line and has begun to receive a nice bump in his ice time of late, topping 17 minutes of ice time in three of his previous five games (after not doing so once in the first 17 games).

Chicago Blackhawks Forward Lines:

Brandon Saad – Toews – Hossa
Versteeg – Richards – Kane
Bryan BickellAndrew ShawDaniel Carcillo
Joakim NordstromMarcus KrugerBen Smith

On the Blackhawks defense, reigning Norris Trophy winner Duncan Keith leads the defense with nine assists and 14 points. Keith plays a whopping 25:30 per game, eighth most in the entire NHL and easily the most minutes per game on the Blackhawks. He and his defense partner, Brent Seabrook, each have five goals, tied for the most among Chicago defensemen. Trevor van Riemsdyk was moved to Long-Term Injured Reserve (LTIR) for a patella fracture in his left knee. He suffered the injury when he was hit by a shot on November 17th against the Dallas Stars.

Chicago Blackhawks Defense Pairings:

Keith – Seabrook
Johnny OduyaNiklas Hjalmarsson
Michal RozsivalAdam Clendening

In net, Frederik Andersen (10-2-4, 2.10 GAA, .922 SV%) should be expected to take the net for the Ducks. Andersen has won three straight starts and has been rather sharp in his last two outings, winning both decisions with a 1.50 GAA and .951 SV% combined. Opposing Andersen will be Corey Crawford (10-5-1, 1.98 GAA, .926 SV%), who missed the first meeting between these clubs on October 28th with an upper-body injury. Andersen did not play in that game either, as John Gibson and Scott Darling dueled it out, with the Ducks winning 1-0 on a Smith-Pelly shorthanded goal.

Jason Byun is the editor for Pucks of a Feather. He can be found on Twitter. For more Anaheim Ducks coverage, follow Pucks of a Feather on Twitter or like us on Facebook.