Tonight, the Anaheim Ducks play in one of the most anticipated games of the season. This four-game homestand opens up with their heated rivalry against the Nashville Predators.
Sunday’s game against the Calgary Flames was one of the worst we’ve seen from the Anaheim Ducks so far this season. They looked a little disoriented and confused. Just when their scoring issues seemed to take a turn in the right direction, they struggled to score even one goal against their Pacific Division rivals.
However, the Ducks still exuded confidence against the Flames, which bodes well for them as they head out on the road. There are going to be obstacles as they face difficult teams in the next week, and going onto the ice with confidence is going to be a huge key in winning. Anaheim will open their road trip against the Nashville Predators, and nothing envokes confidence more than a red-hot rivalry between two Western Conference teams.
Last season, the Anaheim Ducks walked away 2-1 in their series against the Predators, having won with a team led by both Randy Carlyle and Bob Murray. With the significant improvements that have already been made by the team this year, if they play their cards right, tonight’s game should be incredibly entertaining.
The Predators, surprisingly, have a 4-3-1 record. They simply aren’t the same team we’ve been pitted up against over the past few seasons. They are still competitive, and their rivalry against the Ducks is sure to be a motivating factor in their game tonight. However, with two radically different teams than in seasons past, the Anaheim Ducks could have the upper hand.
Everything You Need to Know Before Puck Drop
Game 10: Anaheim Ducks vs Nashville Predators
Season Record: 6-3-0
Location: Bridgestone Arena—Nashville, Tennesee
Time: 5:00pm PST
TV: Prime Ticket
Anaheim Ducks News: Ducks reportedly sign Luca Sbisa to a one-year, one-way contract.
Anaheim Ducks Players to Watch
Jakob Silfverberg, Adam Henrique, Rickard Rakell: The Anaheim Ducks unofficial first line may consist of three separate players, but lately, they’ve been playing together as one well-oiled machine. Although the trio hasn’t been paired together throughout all 9 games, they’ve scored almost 60% of the Anaheim Ducks goals and exactly 1/3 of the team’s accumulated points.
Over the past three games, their CF% (Corsi-for) and FF% (Fenwick-for) together has skyrocketed. Despite the 2-1 loss against the Flames, they have a 73.91% Corsi-for percentage. They’re driving a majority of the Anaheim Ducks play out on the ice, so, it’s no wonder they’ve been scoring a majority of the team’s goals.
Silfverberg and Rakell play a very similar style of hockey, having both grown up playing in the Swedish system. Their chemistry is undeniable; they two play together as if they’ve been linemates for years. It’s a shame Randy Carlyle never actively pursued this combination.
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While the three centers paired between both Swedes have seen success, Henrique has worked exceedingly well between the two. He may not be a permanent fixture on that line, but he compliments the line well. This line works hard and consists of a big chunk of the Ducks’ current leadership. It’s going to be difficult for the Predators to figure them out, and hopefully, we see a few noteworthy plays for this line.
John Gibson: John Gibson has consistently been one of the Anaheim Ducks’ best players over the past few seasons, and he doesn’t get the credit he rightfully deserves. In 7 games played this season, he’s only let in more than 2 goals once this season. His save percentage has only dipped below .929% against the Boston Bruins. He’s holding tightly to a .939% save percentage; Tukka Rask, Carter Hutton, and Darcey Kuemper are currently the only goaltenders who have a higher save percentage, and they have played 2-3 fewer games than Gibson.
So far this season, Gibson has made quality save after quality save. Each season, his progression trends in a positive direction. There is no doubt that his presence between the pipes is going to be a big factor in how the game against Nashville plays out tonight.
Although Gibson only has a 50% success rate against the Predators, and a career average SV% of .897%, he has grown significantly as a goaltender over the past few years. Now that he has a little more defensive backup than he had last year, he is even more of a threat now that he’s allowed a little bit of rest.
Troy Terry: Troy Terry has seemed to gain confidence with each passing game. His hard work finally paid off when he scored his first goal of the season against the Carolina Hurricanes. He’s come a long way from the timid boy we saw start the season with the Anaheim Ducks last year. The kids have been holding their own in the NHL, but Terry is leading the pack.
The number of shot attempts that have gone on goal has increased significantly, 61.1%, from last years 42.4%. He has created quite a few impressive chances for his team, and the bolder he gets, the more his hard work will pay off.
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