The Anaheim Ducks take on the Arizona Coyotes tonight in the second game of a two-game homestand. This is the final time this season we will face our desert-dwelling neighbors, and with one game left, the Ducks are currently 2-7-1 on the season against the ‘Yotes.
In Friday night’s contest, the bad guys walked away with the victory, defeating the Ducks 4-2. This gave them the boost they needed to move into 4th place in the Honda West Division, putting them in a position to potentially secure a spot in the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Unfortunatley for the Ducks, they still remain 8th in the West Division and 30th in the entire league. Their playoff dreams ended a long time ago and now their eyes are on a high draft pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. Nevertheless, being in such a position does not mean the team should willingly lie down and take a sound beating from their opposition.
However, it is more than likely we will see the Anaheim Ducks continue to struggle in the absence of key players. Currently, the team has 7 players sidelined due to injury. Players like Hampus Lindholm, Carter Rowney, and Sonny Milano have been out for weeks. But, it is the absence of Rickard Rakell, Ryan Getzlaf, and John Gibson that should cause alarm.
Anaheim Ducks Likely to Struggle in Wake of Injuries to Key Players
There is no word on when Ryan Getzlaf, John Gibson, or Rickard Rakell will return to the lineup. Gibson was recently spotted at practice, which is a good sign for a team that is in desperate need of their starting goaltender. Nevertheless, it has not been confirmed if he will be returning tonight or if the Ducks are allowing him more time to heal and rest.
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Missing their leading point producer, Rickard Rakell, has also taken its toll on the Anaheim Ducks over the last few games. In his absence, the team has been out of sync and a lot of their goal-scoring has been chalked up to luck. He has been, without a doubt, one of their best players this year, and without his inspired creativity, the team’s struggles become glaringly obvious and easy to take advantage of.
While the extent of Ryan Getzlaf’s injury isn’t known, it was severe enough to take him out of Friday night’s game. In an update from Dallas Eakins, the head coach expressed that things could go either way for the Captain tonight. It all depends on how he feels after being assessed prior to the game.
The Arizona Coyotes have a few injuries, but they are firing on all four cylinders with the hopes of keeping their 4th place spot. St. Louis is just one point behind them, so securing two points tonight will go a long way in propelling them into the playoffs. They aren’t going to make it easy for Anaheim, and should the Ducks be missing all three of their key players, their struggles are going to shine brighter than the top of Ryan Getzlaf’s beautiful bald head.
Anaheim Ducks Projected Lineup
The Anaheim Ducks projected lineup has been provided courtesy of NHL.com but is subject to change at the discretion of the team:
"Trevor Zegras–Adam Henrique–Jakob SilfverbergMax Comtois–Isac Lundestrom–Alexander VolkovMax Jones–Andrew Agozzino–Danton HeinenNicolas Deslauriers–Derek Grant–Troy Terry Cam Fowler–Jani HakanpaaJamie Drysdale–Josh MansonBen Hutton–Kevin Shattenkirk Starting Goaltender: John GibsonBackup Goaltender: Ryan Miller Scratched: Jacob Larsson, Anthony Stolarz"
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