Anaheim Ducks are Turning Up the Heat in Preseason Game Against the Arizona Coyotes

ANAHEIM, CA - DECEMBER 29: Anaheim Ducks goalie John Gibson (36) dives for and misses the puck that goes in the for a goal in the second period of a game against the Arizona Coyotes played on December 29, 2018 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA. (Photo by John Cordes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - DECEMBER 29: Anaheim Ducks goalie John Gibson (36) dives for and misses the puck that goes in the for a goal in the second period of a game against the Arizona Coyotes played on December 29, 2018 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA. (Photo by John Cordes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

After making a good impression in their first preseason game against the San Jose Sharks, the Anaheim Ducks are turning up the heat in Game 2 against the Arizona Coyotes.

It’s been a hot one here in the desert today, with temperatures in the upper 90’s all afternoon. The Anaheim Ducks have touched down at Sky Harbor International Airport, and with Dallas Eakins rolling out a projected lineup reminiscent of what we could see in the regular season, our feathered waterfowl are looking to turn the heat up during their second preseason game against the Arizona Coyotes.

With their first preseason game out of the way, the team should be proud of what they accomplished on Tuesday. Eakins used the game against the San Jose Sharks to experiment a little bit, allowing a lot of the Anaheim Ducks prospects and free-agent signings take the lead. Although they struggled out of the gate, they regained their footing in the second period, scoring three unanswered goals.

Despite there being quite a few season regulars in the Sharks lineup, Max Jones, with the help of Troy Terry and Chris Wideman, scored the game-winning goal on the power play. Let me repeat that… the Anaheim Ducks won the game on a power play! With two points on the night, Jones is making a strong case to start his season with the big club.

Eric Stephens has once again given us a preview of what the Anaheim Ducks lineup will look like tonight against the Arizona Coyotes. It is unfortunate that the game will not be streamed tonight, because the top six projected to play in tonight’s game is something I think all of us can get behind.

Nick Ritchie and Ondrej Kase are Moving on Up

Ryan Getzlaf is making his preseason debut with two very different linemates than we are used to seeing him with. However, change is exciting and there is no doubt that the Nick Ritchie and Ondrej Kase duo have earned a look beside our beloved Captain.

While many fans are upset that Nick Ritchie is on the top line, consider this. Playing alongside Getzlaf gives him the ultimate accountability. We saw the old Nick Ritchie come out to play during Tuesday’s preseason game, and if Eakins wants to avoid the penalties and aggression this year, this is an incredibly smart move. Also, keep in mind, despite his tendency to let his anger get the best of him, Ritchie is still a pretty good NHL player!

Kase is making his debut with the team for the first time since his season-ending shoulder injury. Let’s forget about the trade rumors and enjoy the talented young winger while we have him. Despite all of his injuries that have kept him sidelined during every season with the Ducks, he has proven to be one of the best goalscorers on the team, and being put on a line with one of the teams best playmakers in Ryan Getzlaf, gives him a better opportunity to get shots on goal and pucks in the back of the net.

He and Ritchie already have great chemistry, and as one of our writers, Jonathan Maxfield brought up to me earlier, it is likely that Ritchie is being kept on the first line with Kase so that other players will refrain from hitting him, thus drastically lowering his chances for injury. If we can push aside our disdain for Ritchie, this is going to be a fun line to watch tonight.

Has Rickard Rakell Been Demoted?

The Rickard RakellSam SteelJakob Silfverberg line was debuted during training camp, and it could be one of the Ducks most dangerous lines this season. However, it is noticeable that Rakell is not in his usual spot alongside Ryan Getzlaf. So, what gives? Has Rickard Rakell been demoted after a lackluster performance during the 2018-19 season and replaced with Nick Ritchie?

On the contrary. First of all, we have to remember that this is the preseason. Secondly, Dallas Eakins moving Rickard Rakell to the second line is a sign that he has tremendous respect for the young winger. This will be Sam Steel’s first full season in the NHL, and he needs a line that will not only make things easier for him but a line that has two players that he can learn from and look up to as he takes on the tremendous responsibility of being the Ducks second line C.

This doesn’t mean that we won’t see the Rakell-Getzlaf duo reunited during the season. However, both of them need change. I am a big proponent that the two of them worked so well together because of Corey Perry. With Perry gone, it makes sense for them to get a fresh start with new linemates in the midst of this re-tool. Eakins has been adamant that he wants to stick with what works, and so far, having Rick Rak on the second line has worked for him and the rest of the team.

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I think it will benefit a player like Rakell to have creative linemates such as Steel and Silfverberg. The change also proves that Rakell can be a versatile asset to the team. We all need to get out of the “he’s only good with Getzlaf” bubble and trust that Eakins is doing what is best for both Rakell and the team.

Can Cam Fowler Help Solve the Issues on the Right Side?

With Brendan Guhle finally healthy, he and Cam Fowler have the opportunity to show the team that a big issue on the right side has been solved. With a limited amount of right-handed defensemen on the team, that leaves a big hole, and last season, Fowler filled that hole and showed progress on his offside.

If the two of them can continue to build off of the chemistry from last season, that gives the Ducks one less thing to worry about. Hopefully, Guhle can be the partner Cam Fowler has always deserved but never been given. This pairing will either succeed or fail, I don’t think there will be a middle ground.

The rest of the blueline tonight is as much of an experiment as it was during the last game, however. It seems like Eakins is trying whatever different parings he can in hopes that one or two pairings will stand out as the month goes on.

The Anointed One Returns

The moment we’ve all been waiting for! John Gibson returns to the net, splitting duties tonight with Kevin Boyle. With Gibson in net, it’s going to be a difficult game for the Arizona Coyotes. Hopefully, the Anaheim Ducks can give him some coverage defensively and the offense can generate some chances. This may just be a preseason game, but it’s going to be great to see one of the NHL’s best goaltenders in action again.

Next. Ducks Make Good Impression in First Preseason Game. dark

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