By Michael Walters
The Anaheim Ducks(4-4-2) take on the defending Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins(6-2-1) tonight at Honda Center. The game starts at 7:30 PM PT. This is the second and final meeting of the season. Penguins won the first contest 3-2.
The Ducks are coming off a solid win over the Kings 4-0. Last night was “The Return of Rakell” as he opened the scoring in the first period to give the Ducks a 1-0 after 20 minutes. He later assisted on two goals in the second period and Anaheim was up 4-0 with 40 minutes in the books. Rakell played on the third line with Antoine Vermette and Joseph Cramarossa, who both scored last night. Cramarossa’s score was his first NHL goal.
Nick Ritchie took a hard check into the glass last night and is still out of the lineup tonight as he is being assessed per Randy Carlyle. The Ducks called up Michael Sgarbossa and Ondrej Kase. Dustin Tokarski was reassigned to San Diego. Jonathan Bernier will serve as Gibson’s backup tonight. Mason Raymond was placed on unconditional waivers today per TSN’s Bob McKenzie. He returned to Calgary due to family reasons.
Per Lindholm’s agent, it appears he will have his work visa at the beginning of next week. Lindholm should return to Anaheim shortly thereafter.
Anaheim played Pittsburgh once already losing by just one goal, but the Penguins didn’t have Sidney Crosby in that contest. The Ducks are going to need to play well defensively as the Penguins are a quick skating team. Anaheim has to be ready for Pittsburgh’s transition game, which helped catapult them all the way to the Championship last year. Anaheim still leads the league in face-offs winning 59.5% of their draws.
Rickard Rakell – Ryan Getzlaf – Corey Perry
Andrew Cogliano – Ryan Kesler – Jakob Silfverberg
Joseph Cramarossa – Antoine Vermette – Michael Sgarbossa/Ondrej Kase
Ryan Garbutt – Chris Wagner – Jared Boll
The Penguins are coming off a come from behind win against their rival the Philadelphia Flyers. Pittsburgh got down early 2-0 but rallied with three straights goals to take a 3-2 lead after the first period. In the second period, the Flyers battled back scoring twice and the game was tied up at four heading into the third period. Evgeni Malkin scored the final goal and the Penguins held on for the 5-4 win.
With Crosby back in the lineup, the Penguins have been full steam ahead winning their last three contests. Crosby has already scored four goals, lighting the lamp at least once in each game. Pittsburgh has won four of their last five, only losing to Nashville. The key for Pittsburgh is to use their speed and make Anaheim take penalties. The Penguins rank 4th on the power play with 26.5% efficiency. They do need to try to avoid the penalty box themselves as their penalty kill is only 78.9% efficient.
Projected Lineup (dailyfaceoff.com)
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