PREVIEW: Ducks Battle Lightning

By Michael Walters

The Anaheim Ducks(9-11-5) continue the home stand against the Tampa Bay Lightning(11-11-3). The Ducks look to avenge a 5-0 beat down by Tampa Bay in their first meeting. Game starts at 7:30PM PST.

Tonight is Star Wars night at Honda Center! If you do decide to dress up, then please remember to leave all Lightsabers and blasters at home. If you are wearing a mask, then you need to remove it when purchasing alcohol.

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Keys To The Game:

Ducks:

1. Repeat Performance: The Ducks last game was arguably their best performance of the season. If the Ducks can continue to put efforts like that together, then chances look good of them making the playoffs.

2. Score First: The Ducks need to get a lead early in this game. In the previous meeting they got down by a couple of goals and could never recover.

Lightning:

1. Offense: Tampa Bay has struggled, like Anaheim, to score goals this season averaging just 2.32 a game. In the last meeting, however, they did score five goals against the Ducks.

2. Defense: The Lightning’ defense is ranked 5th in the league in terms of goals against per game at 2.24. If they can hold the Ducks to two goals or less than they have a good chance at winning this game.

Players To Watch:

Ducks

1. Nate Thompson: Thompson who has been one of their best face-off centers will make his season debut tonight. He posted a 52.7% face-off winning percentage last year and will be a welcomed presence on the Ducks’ bench.

2. Jakob Silfverberg: He scored his second regulation goal in the last game against Vancouver. It would be good to see him get going more offensively on the Ducks second line.

Lightning

1. Steven StamkosHe leads the team with 19 total points(11 Goals + 8 Assists). He burned the Ducks last game with two big goals after the Ducks nearly tied the game.

2. Victor Hedman: He leads all Tampa Bay defensemen in points with 13 (2 goals + 11 assists). He has been a work horse for the Lightning averaging almost 23 minutes of ice time over his last five games.

Anaheim Ducks Projected Lineup(Per NHL.com):

Today there was an optional skate with Nate Thompson and Jiri Sekac participating. According to several beat writers, Thompson will make his season debut against his former team. John Gibson will get his 4th straight start in net as Frederik Andersen has been dealing with a serious case of the flu. Patrick Maroon will be a healthy scratch.

Offense

Rickard Rakell   Ryan Getzlaf – Corey Perry

Nick Ritchie  Ryan Kesler  –  Jakob Silfverberg

Carl Hagelin  – Shawn Horcoff – Andrew Cogliano  

Mike Santorelli – Nate Thompson – Chris Stewart 

Defense

Cam Fowler Kevin Bieksa

Hampus Lindholm – Josh Manson

Clayton StonerSami Vatanen

Tampa Bay Lightning Projected Lineup (Per NHL.com):

Offense

Alex KillornValtteri FilppulaSteven Stamkos

Jonathan Drouin – Vladislav Namestnikov Nikita Kucherov

J.T. BrownBrian Boyle – Ryan Callahan

Joel Vermin – Jonathan Marchessault – Erik Condra

Defense

Anton StralmanVictor Hedman

Braydon CoburnJason Garrison

Matt CarleAndrej Sustr

Starting Goalies:

Ducks:                            John Gibson      2-1-1 GAA 1.82 SV% .936% (Confirmed)

Lightning:                       Ben Bishop        9-8-2 GAA 2.04 SV% .913% (Probable)

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