Anaheim Ducks Line Rushes vs. Minnesota Wild: 12/05/2014


The Anaheim Ducks begin a two-game road trip by visiting the Minnesota Wild. The Ducks are 16-6-5, and their 37 standings points are 2nd in the Pacific Division and 4th in the NHL. The Ducks finished a 4-2-0 California stretch with a 5-4 shootout win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday. The Wild, on the other hand, are 14-9-1 and 10th in the Western Conference, but they are quietly racking up wins, going 7-2-1 in their last 10 games.

For the Ducks, Bruce Boudreau is once again shuffling his lines. Rene Bourque has only one assist during his Ducks tenure, and he will be put on the top-line to start the game. Matt Beleskey, the winger on the top line the past few games, will slide down to the second line with Ryan Kesler. Patrick Maroon netted his second goal of the season against the Flyers on Wednesday, while Corey Perry netted the shootout winner.

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

Anaheim Ducks Forward Lines:

Bourque – Ryan Getzlaf – Perry
Beleskey – Kesler – Kyle Palmieri
Andrew CoglianoDevante Smith-PellyJakob Silfverberg
Maroon – Nate ThompsonTim Jackman

On the Ducks defense, Sami Vatanen set a new career high with his seventh goal of the season on Wednesday against the Flyers. He also matched his career high of 21 points, set last season through 48 games. Vatanen and Hampus Lindholm are the only two defensemen to play all 27 games this season. Mark Fistric will return after being taken off Injured Reserve Wednesday, but sitting. Newly acquired Colby Robak skated, but will not play.

Anaheim Ducks Defense Pairings:

Cam FowlerJosh Manson
Lindholm – Fistric
Clayton Stoner – Vatanen

As for the Wild, they are coming off a 2-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday. Zach Parise leads the Wild with 19 points on the season. Youngsters Nino Niederreiter and Jason Zucker have provided a goal-scoring punch, scoring 11 and 10 respectively to lead the team. Thomas Vanek, who signed with the Wild on a three-year, $19.5 million contract in the offseason, has been quiet with just two goals. However, Vanek is tied for the team lead with 12 assists.

Minnesota Wild Forward Lines:

Parise – Mikael GranlundJason Pominville
Zucker – Mikko Koivu – Vanek
Niederreiter – Kyle BrodziakCharlie Coyle
Ryan CarterErik HaulaJustin Fontaine

The big news with the Wild defense is that Ryan Suter is out with the mumps virus. The Ducks are very familiar with the ailment, as it caused Perry, Stoner, and Francois Beauchemin to miss five games each. Jonas Brodin and Marco Scandella each signed long-term extensions with the Wild this season and are part of a great defensive group that allows the fewest shots per game (25.5). It is their defense that allows the team to win games, despite the league’s second-worst power-play (8.97%).

Minnesota Wild Defense Pairings:

Scandella – Jared Spurgeon
Brodin – Christian Folin
Keith BallardNate Prosser

In net, Frederik Andersen (12-4-4, 2.43 GAA, .915 SV%) makes his 14th straight start in net for the Ducks. The Ducks signed veteran Ilya Bryzgalov to a player tryout, and he says that it would take him about ten days to get into game-shape, putting him in line to be ready during the Ducks’ five-game Canada road-trip in mid-December. Opposing Andersen will be youngster Darcy Kuemper (11-7-0, 2.28 GAA, .912 GAA), who stopped 18 of 19 shots in the Wild’s win over the Canadiens Wednesday.

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.