Anaheim Ducks: 2019-20 Opening Week Primer and Predictions
The Anaheim Ducks regular season is almost upon us. What do they face in their opening week and how might things playout for the team?
It’s here… it’s finally here! We have made it. Anaheim Ducks hockey is back. After trudging through the longest offseason in recent memory, gone are the days of no new signings, trading a 4th round pick for a 4th liner and rumors, rumors, and more rumors that never come to fruition.
The glory of regular season hockey is almost upon us and I am here to lay out the first week of the season. We are going to go over keys to success in each game against the particular opponent. Players on those opposing teams that the Ducks better gameplan and at the end of each game preview, my prediction for the final score of each game.
October 3rd— Anaheim Ducks vs Arizona Coyotes
The Anaheim Ducks take on the Arizona Coyotes at home on October 3rd. Our first taste of regular-season hockey is against a team with sneaky upside. A new core piece acquired this offseason is the always dangerous Phil Kessel. The Anaheim Ducks will have to shut down this impressive sniper with his new linemates Clayton Keller and Nick Schmaltz.
Prediction: Anaheim wins 3-2 with the Coyotes making a late push that ultimately comes up short.
October 5th— Anaheim Ducks vs San Jose Sharks
The Anaheim Ducks square off against the San Jose Sharks on October 5th, the final game before the Ducks hit the road for a three-game road trip. These games are always intense and usually close affairs. The Sharks have lost Joe Pavelski but have relatively the same core and a healthy Erik Karlsson, which paired with their other stud defenseman, Brent Burns, makes for a daunting task. Keeping those two off the scoresheet is critical but definitely easier said than done.
Prediction: Ducks lose 3-2 in overtime with Erik Karlsson finishing the night with a GWG in 3v3 overtime.
October 8th— Anaheim Ducks vs Detroit Red Wings
The Anaheim Ducks first taste of travel during the regular season and they meet up with Hockeytown’s finest, the Detroit Red Wings. Dylan Larkin looks to put this team on his back and push them to compete for a playoff spot, their roster remains very close to last years and Larkin figures to be the main threat. If the Ducks can keep his line contained they will stand a much better chance of getting the win.
Prediction: Ducks win big 4-0 giving John Gibson his first shutout of the season.
October 10th— Anaheim Ducks vs Pittsburgh Penguins
Anaheim continues their road trip and visits John Gibson’s hometown team, the Pittsburgh Penguins. We all know the usual suspect to watch out for. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin figure heavily into any game against this team. The big question mark is whether their defense led by Kris Letang and goaltending backstopped by Matt Murray can keep pucks out of their net. Crosby and Malkin make their individual lines dangerous on their own, on the powerplay, it means double trouble for defenses and can simply overpower teams.
Prediction: Anaheim loses a tight one 2-1 in a very tight game with Malkin sniping home the game-winner.
October 11th— Anaheim Ducks vs Columbus Blue Jackets
On the second game of a back to back the Anaheim Ducks give Ryan Miller his first taste of action against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Gone are Sergei Bobrovsky, Matt Duchene, Artemi Panarin and Ryan Dzingel and, in looking through their roster, their main threats are recently signed Zach Werenski, solid defenseman Seth Jones, and their big center Pierre-Luc Dubois. Keeping the youth infused Blue Jackets off of the man advantage will be a big need for the Ducks.
Prediction: The Ducks hammer out a win 3-1 with Ryan Miller standing tall in net and Sam Steel factoring in all 3 goals.
In their first week of regular-season action the Ducks face off against a good mix of teams around their supposed level and a couple of teams that figure to be in the playoff mix. If they can come out of that first week with a 3-2 record as I’ve predicted or better, the boys and new head coach Dallas Eakins should be confident that they can compete with anyone on any given night. Hopefully, this kicks off a trend of the Ducks pushing themselves into playoff contention and an exciting 2019-2020 season.
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