PREVIEW: Ducks Battle Maple Leafs

ducksleafs2

By Michael Walters

The Anaheim Ducks(16-15-7) continue their home stand against the Toronto Maple Leafs(15-15-7). This is the first of two games the Ducks will play against the Leafs this season. Tonight’s contest starts at 7PM PST.

Today Corey Perry and John Gibson were named to the 2015 NHL All-Star Game. For more info please read: Perry and Gibson All-Star Bound

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Keys To The Game:

Ducks:

1. Power Play: The Ducks has been on fire lately going 6 for 9 in their last five games. Anaheim’s power play unit is ranked 10th at 20% efficiency, despite having the lowest amount of opportunities in the league(100).

2. Crash The Net: If the Ducks want to improve their scoring and power play opportunities, then they need to go to the front of the net with regularity. At times the Ducks play on the perimeter too much and need someone in front of the opposing goalie. Doing this will increase the chances of an opposing player taking a penalty.

Leafs:

1. Shots: Toronto is 7th in the league in shots on net per game. They average 31.0 shots per game and will need to pepper the Anaheim net especially with John Gibson playing as well as he has.

2. Face-Offs: The Leafs are 11th in the league in winning face-off percentage at 50.8%.  The Ducks are 3rd at 51.9% so this game could come down to some key face-offs late in the game or on special teams.

Players To Watch:

Ducks

1. Rickard Rakell: He scored his eighth goal in the last game, which is second on the team only to Corey Perry. Rakell has played this season mainly on the top line at the wing position, instead of his regular center role.

2. Ryan Kesler: He has scored in back-to-back games and is starting to pick it up offensively. He is also second on the team in power play goals with three.

Leafs:

1. Leo Komarov: He leads the team in goals scored with 15 and is second in power plays goals with four. He has three points in his last two games.

2. James van Riemsdyk: He leads the team in total points with 28 (14 goals + 14 assists). He has a current six game point streak, where he has scored four goals and four assists.

Anaheim Ducks Projected Lineup:

Bruce Boudreau appears to be going with the same lineup from Sunday’s contest.

Offense

Rickard RakellRyan GetzlafCorey Perry

Carl Hagelin – Ryan Kesler – Jakob Silfverberg 

Andrew Cogliano – Shawn Horcoff – Mike Santorelli 

Patrick MaroonNate Thompson – Chris Stewart

Defense

Hampus LindholmJosh Manson

Sami Vatanen – Kevin Bieksa

Shea Theodore – Korbinian Holzer

Toronto Maple Leafs Projected Lineup (Per NHL.com):

Offense

James van RiemsdykTyler BozakP.A. Parenteau

Michael GrabnerNazem KadriLeo Komarov

Daniel Winnik – Mark Arcobello Joffrey Lupul

Shawn MatthiasPeter Holland  – Brad Boyes

Defense

Jake GardinerDion Phaneuf

Matt HunwickMorgan Rielly

Matt Marincin – Roman Polak

Starting Goalies:

Ducks:        John Gibson              8-4-2 GAA 1.63 SV% .932% (Confirmed)

Leafs:         Jonathan Bernier       5-10-3 GAA 3.09 SV% .896% (Confirmed)

Team Comparison

GP RECORD HOME ROAD L10 G/GP GA/GP PP% PK% PIM/GP S/GP SA/GP FO%
37 15-15-7 7-6-5 8-9-2 6-2-2 2.57 2.68 19.6 79.7 7.8 31.0 30.7 50.8
38 16-15-7 10-5-4 6-10-3 5-3-2 1.90 2.32 20.0 88.6 12.4 29.5 27.2 51.9

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