If there is a time where it is okay for the Anaheim Ducks to be struggling, this would be the time.
It’s never okay to freely give up two points but the team is at a point where fatigue is settling in.
The World Cup of Hockey has made the NHL to operate under a compact schedule.
A few GMs around the league are upset about this and I would not be surprised if the WCH in 2020 is cancelled.
After a two day break, the Anaheim Ducks continue their six-game road trip.
They are winless so far with a 0-1-1 record, earning one of a possible four points.
The game is set for a 4 P.M. Pacific puck drop on Prime Ticket and AM 830 KLAA.
Anaheim Ducks (28-16-10, 66 points)
Since the first game back from the All-Star break, Anaheim’s performance has tapered off.
They have failed to build off the momentum made from their 5-1 victory over Colorado.
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As of late, the Ducks have been outshot by the opposition, with the shot differential being 17.5 in the past two games.
Gibson and Bernier have been phenomenal in these games, giving their team an opportunity to win.
However, Anaheim has not been able to help back their net minder.
To use baseball terminology: no run support.
They’ve had eight power plays so far, unable to convert on any of them.
That in itself is a big problem to deal with but Anaheim finds a way to make it more difficult.
Five or more power play chances have been awarded during this stretch. For a team that is second in the division, you can’t have this kind of disparity.
Reported by Chris Nichols of the Fanrag Sports Network, interest is skyrocketing in Anaheim Ducks defenseman Josh Manson.
NHL GMs Joe Sakic (Colorado) and Steve Yzerman (Tampa Bay) were in attendance when Anaheim played Florida.
Anaheim loves Manson so it would be very difficult for teams to offer a subpar return if they want him.
There is no way it wounds up being a straight up player-for-player or for one draft pick type trade.
Quality young defenseman are hard to come by in this league, so having this playing chip works in Anaheim’s favor.
New York Rangers (33-18-1, 67 points)
What in the Metro:
The Metropolitan Division is the best division in hockey. Don’t fight me.
It’s so loaded that even a good Rangers squad is fourth, occupying the top wild card spot.
If it was any other division, New York’s 67 points would be good enough for second place.
They have not had a losing streak longer than three games.
53 of its 67 points have come in the first three months of the season.
My Kingdom Come, Goals Will Be Done:
A huge part of the Rangers success has been its offense.
There are 17 instances this season where they scored five or more goals, including a four-game stretch that saw them outscore opponents 20-7. Explaining the reason why New York is second in the league in goals per game with a 3.4 clip.
It has been so good, in fact, that they can afford for Henrik Lundqvist to be below average.
34-years-old and 11 years into his NHL playing career, the King finally appears to be human.
Statistically speaking, he is having the worst season of his career with a .907 save % and 2.74 GAA. Compare that to his lifetime .920 save % and 2.31 GAA.
Box of chocolates:
The Rangers are one of those teams where you don’t know exactly what kind of team they are and to expect every year.
For instance: After trading away their top goal scorer in Derick Brassard to Ottawa in the off-season, there was some question marks as to who would replace his production.
The easy and logical choice would be none other than the Norwegian hobbit wizard, Mats Zuccarello.
But then you have an anomaly in Michael Grabner.
He leads the team in goals with 23.
Their 13 years of making of the play-offs since winning it all in 1993 haven’t amount to anything.