Back at Honda Center, the Anaheim Ducks look to bounce back from their loss in Vegas. Winnipeg is in town tonight, and both teams have a lot to overcome. How can the Ducks take control and run away with the game?
Home sweet home! The Anaheim Ducks are back at Honda Center tonight, starting their seven-game homestand off against the Winnipeg Jets. Both teams are experiencing some defensive deficits, the Jets rebuilding their blueline and the Ducks suffering from injury, which could pose a problem for each of their teams. However, with two stellar goaltenders in net and two groups of forwards who have had their share of struggles this season, it could be anyone’s game tonight. How do the Ducks take control of the situation and run away with the game?
A strong game, especially in the first period, from John Gibson, is going to be key if the Ducks have any hopes at winning this game at all. The past few games have been rough for Gibson, but so far, he’s had a rather strong start to the season. Aside from Boston, Nashville, and Vegas, he has limited the opposition to at least two goals. Standing on his head for his teammates is not the most optimal of circumstances but, in this case, tonight’s game will come down to which goaltender has a better performance.
Gibson should be one of Dallas Eakins‘ main priorities tonight. Should Gibson start to look like he’s feeling overwhelmed by the pressure, HCDE shouldn’t be afraid to pull Gibson and put Ryan Miller in between the pipes. If goaltending becomes an issue for his team, Eakins should make the switch before the rest of his team begins to feel defeated.
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Score Early and Continue to Find the Back of the Net
The Ducks haven’t seen many goals outside of the Rickard Rakell–Adam Henrique–Jakob Silfverberg night. Giving them the most ice time tonight will likely lead to the most positive results. Nevertheless, the team really needs players other than these three to step up. We’ve had a few beautiful goals from the Getzlaf line over the past week, and they need to keep it up. Nick Ritchie‘s underlying numbers suggest that he’s currently one of the better players on the team, he just needs to figure out a way to finish and find the back of the net.
Anaheim seems to play better when they are able to score early in the game. This isn’t always necessarily true, but 9 times out of 10, scoring early is going to give the offense the confidence boost and momentum it needs to have games similar to the ones against Colorado, Carolina, and Buffalo. The first period has been a struggle for the Ducks all season, and there is no night better than tonight for the Ducks to start strong.
Starting strong doesn’t win you games, however. The offense needs to pick up the slack and fill in where the defense is lacking. If goal scoring is where they do that, all the better. Second and third chances are going to be the Ducks’ best friend tonight.
Stay Motivated and Play all 60 Minutes
Motivation is hard to come by when you’ve lost 4 of your last 5 games. However, it’s not impossible to find, especially with a coach like Dallas Eakins. Lately, it seems like the Ducks start to give up if the opposition is up by two or more goals. That simply isn’t going to fly, and it’s going to take a team-wide attitude adjustment to fix it.
Reverting to the habits formed last season is a recipe for a disaster and another long, miserable, and discouraging losing streak. It’s imperative that the Anaheim Ducks not only find motivation early in the game, but they stick with it. Sometimes losses happen, it’s just a part of the game. However, if they can play all 60 minutes tonight, it will show them that they can still be competitive even if they lose.
They did a good job during their first few games, but have seemed to lose that spark on their road trip. Not only is it fun for them if they can continue to stay competitive, but it makes for a more enjoyable game on our end too.
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