The Anaheim Ducks are fresh off an exciting win against the Carolina Hurricanes. Although they face a recently defeated Calgary Flames team, there are still areas of their game that need improvement if they hope to win.
Be honest with yourself. Did you really think that the Anaheim Ducks would have a 6-2-0 record just 8 games into the season? While you may have been hopeful that the team would have a much better season than last year, we’re used to them starting off slow at the beginning of the season and making their big push towards the end of the year. The start of the 2019-20 season has been a little different, and it has been a nice surprise.
For those of us who were a little hesitant about Dallas Eakins, he’s proven himself up to this point. Under his leadership and guidance, the Anaheim Ducks are almost unrecognizable. They’ve been relentless, passionate, and spirited in almost every game played this season. The transformation from last season has been a pleasure to witness.
Fresh off a 4-2 win against the Carolina Hurricanes, the Anaheim Ducks had their best first period of the season. Up to this point, they’ve looked good in the final two periods, but struggled to find balance in the first. It was refreshing to see them open the game up looking strong and motivated. They scored four unanswered goals in the first and second periods and continued to play strong until the game ended. Adam Henrique currently leads the Ducks in goals, with 5, while Jakob Silfverberg and Rickard Rakell lead the team in points, with 7.
Their opponents tonight, the Calgary Flames, recently suffered a 4-1 loss at the hands of the Los Angeles Kings. Oh, how the mighty have fallen! Last season, they led the Pacific Divison, but the Alberta native team has had a rocky beginning to the year, starting 4-4-1. Nevertheless, the team has kicked off the season with a tough schedule, and after last night’s loss, underestimating them would not be wise. They will be motivated to win, and tonight is not a good night for the Ducks to rest and hope things go their way.
Everything You Need to Know Before Puck Drop
Game 8: Anaheim Ducks vs Calgary Flames (Tickets)
Season Record: 6-2-0
Location: Honda Center— Anaheim, California
Time: 6:00pm PST
TV: Prime Ticket
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Three Keys to Smothering the Flames
Keep the Penalties to a Minimum: There is nothing wrong with a physical game of hockey, as long as you aren’t paying for it in the form of penalties. This has been the Anaheim Ducks’ biggest struggle this season. During their last game, against the Carolina Hurricanes, the team did a better job of keeping their penalties to a minimum, but there is still a lot of work that needs to be done.
The Flames don’t have the best power play in the league by any means, sitting 5% below the league average. Nevertheless, the Anaheim Ducks got lucky that their goaltenders have only let in two power-play goals in the last two games. John Gibson will be starting in net tonight, and while his talent speaks for itself, if the Ducks keep taking mindless penalties, there is only so much Gibson can do from his crease to keep the Flames from scoring.
Penalties could be the difference-maker in tonight’s game. Taking positive steps in the right direction, and limiting the amount of time they are in the penalty box, will help them down the road when they face teams that pose even more of a threat.
Strong Net Front Presence: Having a strong net-front presence is a must tonight. The Ducks need to be effective in front of the crease so that they can jump on those second and third chances. Cam Talbot has been having a difficult season, but with a motivated team in front of him, he and his glove are going to be anything but friendly tonight.
If one or more players can have a strong game in front of the net, this will allow them more opportunities to get the puck past Talbot and get a tally on the board. It’s not always the pretty goals that win games, but having a strong game in front of Talbot will be a big factor in a win tonight.
Take Advantage of Power Play Opportunities: The Anaheim Ducks finally scored their first power-play goal, but they have not yet proven to be a threat on the power play. Quite the contrary. The team currently sits 15% below the league average, with a PP that is 5.26% effective. The Flames will undoubtedly take penalties tonight. Both teams have a history of erratic behavior.
The Ducks power play has looked significantly better than in seasons past, but it’s not a matter of looking good, it’s a matter of capitalizing on opportunities and using the one-man advantage to take control of the game. Snagging a power-play goal against their Pacific Divison rivals would definetly make this game more enjoyable too.
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