By Michael Walters
The Anaheim Ducks(19-12-8) are at home tonight to face the Detroit Red Wings(16-16-5). The Ducks lost the first meeting 6-4 back in Detroit. The Red Wings lead the season series 1-0-0 and tonight is the final regular season meeting between these two teams.
The Ducks were last in action on Sunday and beat the Flyers in a shootout 4-3. Ryan Getzlaf sustained a lower-body injury and was unable to finish that contest. He didn’t practice the last two days and could sit out tonight. Anaheim recalled Chris Wagner as a result. The forward line combinations are posted below from yesterday’s practice.
Rickard Rakell leads the team with 16 goals this season. Ryan Kesler has scored 15 goals. Jakob Silfverberg has 11 goals. Andrew Cogliano and Cam Fowler each have nine goals. The Ducks currently sit in second place in the Pacific Division with 46 points.
Keys To The Game
The Anaheim defense allowed 55 shots against Philadelphia this past Sunday. When the Ducks last played the Red Wings, they gave up six goals. The Ducks defense needs to work on blocking shots, breaking up passes, and slowing down the opponent’s forecheck. Anaheim could be without Getzlaf so the forward lines will have to adjust as result, with the exception of the Kesler line which has been Anaheim’s best line by far this season.
Anaheim’s Projected Lineup
John Gibson 13-9-7, GAA 2.59, SV% .911 (Unconfirmed)
Detroit last squared off against Toronto in the Centennial Classic, which had a crazy finish to it. The Red Wings were up 1-0 heading into the third period. The Maple Leafs then dropped four goals in about 10 minutes of game play to build a 4-1 lead. The Red Wings responded with three goals, two in the final two minutes, to tie the game and force overtime. Auston Matthews won the game for Toronto in overtime.
Detriot currently has an even record of 16-16-5 and is trying to claw their way into a playoff spot. Dylan Larkin leads the team with 11 goals. Anthony Mantha has nine goals. Frans Nielsen and Tomas Tatar both has eight goals.
Keys To The Game
One concern for the Red Wings has been their power play, which ranks dead last in the league only being 11.7% efficient. Steve Ott and Andreas Athanasiou both practiced on the power play unit during yesterday’s practice as head coach Jeff Blashill wanted to check out different players to shake things up. Detroit is the second best face-off team(53.4%) behind Anaheim. Look for the Red Wings to win draws and maintain possession as much as possible in this game. They were able to get the forecheck and offense going in the first the game against Anaheim in which they scored six times.
Detroit’s Projected Lineup (Dailyfaceoff.com)
Petr Mrazek, 9-8-0, GAA 3.11, SV% .896 (Unconfirmed)
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January 4, 2017