By Michael Walters
The Anaheim Ducks(18-12-8) are at home tonight to face the Philadelphia Flyers(20-14-4). The Ducks first win of the season came against the Flyers in Philadelphia. The Ducks lead the season series 1-0-0.
It’s the first time in Anaheim’s franchise history where they will host a home game on New Year’s Day. The Ducks have played six games total on New Year’s Day and have a record of 3-2-1 all-time in such contests.
The Ducks lost their final game of 2016 in overtime to the Vancouver Canucks. Anaheim is still winless in overtime(0-7). Randy Carlyle went with 11 forwards and seven defensemen last game. He scratched Jared Boll and played both Brandon Montour and Shea Theodore. Theodore was reassigned to San Diego today. Carlyle could scratch Boll again and put Korbinian Holzer in for an 11 forward/7 defensemen lineup again. Anaheim went with a full morning skate, which is rare when the team plays a Sunday home game. Sami Vatanen skated today and will draw back in. John Gibson will start in net.
Rickard Rakell leads the team with 16 goals this season. Ryan Kesler has scored 12 goals. Jakob Silfverberg has 11 goals. Andrew Cogliano and Cam Fowler each have nine goals. The Ducks currently sit in third place in the Pacific Division with 44 points.
Keys To The Game
The Ducks did a great job building a lead against the Canucks, but then let off the gas after that. Anaheim needs to continue to put the pressure on when they get a lead. Anaheim should be able to create even better scoring chances with the new forward line combinations. This is the first game where Carlyle will have the last change on ice, so he should get favorable matchups all game long.
Anaheim’s Projected Lineup
The Flyers are looking to get back into the win column after losing three games in a row. They lost to New Jersey, St. Louis, and San Jose getting blanked two out of three of those games. They are in fifth place in the Metropolitan and are in the middle of a battle for a wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. Wayne Simmonds leads all scorers with 17 goals. Jakub Voracek has 11 goals. Claude Giroux and Brayden Schenn both have 10 goals.
Keys To The Game
The Flyers need to score more goals. They have lit the lamp just three times in their last three games and were shut out in two of those contests. Philadelphia will work the forecheck and try to draw penalties. They Flyers are 21.8% efficient on the power play, which is 6th best in the NHL. The Flyers also average over 30 shots(30.7) per game so they will look to pepper Gibson to create scoring chances.
Philadelphia’s Projected Lineup
Michael Raffl – Claude Giroux – Jakub Voracek
Travis Konecny – Brayden Schenn – Wayne Simmonds
Nick Cousins – Sean Couturier – Matt Read
Chris VandeVelde – Pierre-Edouard Bellemare – Dale Weise
Anthony Stolarz 2-0-0, GAA 1.79, SV% .938 (Unconfirmed)
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January 1, 2017