By Michael Walters
The Anaheim Ducks(26-13-9) travel to Minnesota to face the Wild(29-10-5). The Ducks dropped the first meeting 2-1 back at Honda Center.
The Ducks have won two games in a row. They beat Tampa Bay 2-1 in overtime and also beat Colorado 2-1. Anaheim will be without Jakob Silfverberg who left the game against Colorado with an upper-body injury. As a result, the Ducks called up Corey Tropp. He will likely play on the fourth line with a forward being pumped up to the Ryan Kesler line. It could possibly be Joseph Crammarossa or Ondrej Kase. Andrew Cogliano can play either left or right wing, so Randy Carlyle has options as to who he can plug in Silfverberg’s absence. Rickard Rakell leads the team with 19 goals this season. Ryan Kesler has scored 18 goals. Jakob Silfverberg has 13 goals and Nick Ritchie has 11 goals.
Keys To The Game
The Ducks just played the Wild at home and lost 2-1. Anaheim outplayed Minnesota for a majority of the game, but a rough 5-6 minute span in the second period cost them in that contest. If the Ducks can play a similar game for the full 60 minutes, then they have a good chance to prevail in this contest. They game should be another tight game as fans have grown accustomed to over the past couple of weeks. Randy Carlyle will have to do some lineup changes with Silfverberg out, which could affect how the Ducks play tonight.
Anaheim’s Projected Lineup
John Gibson 19-10-8, GAA 2.26, SV% .922 (Unconfirmed)
Since playing Anaheim just over a week ago, Minnesota has gone 4-1-0 in their last five games. They scored 22 goals in that span and gave up 14 goals. Despite the higher scoring games, all of them except the game against Montreal were decided by one goal. This game will likely be close as well. The Wild currently have 63 points with a record of 29-10-5 and are in tied for first place in the Central division with Chicago. The do have four games in hand over the Blackhawks. Eric Staal leads the team with 16 goals. Nino Niederreiter has 14 goals. Mikko Koivu and Charlie Coyle each have 13 goals.
Keys To The Game
One of the biggest strengths is the Wild’s goal differential(+46), which is good for third in the league. They average 3.27 goals per game, which is 3rd best in the league. They also give up 2.20 goals against per game on average, which is tied for 2nd best in the league. Minnesota is ranked 5th on the penalty kill at 84.4%. The Wild give up over 30 shots(30.3) per game against so they will look to limit Anaheim’s shot attempts tonight.
Minnesota’s Projected Lineup (Per Dailyfaceoff.com)
Devan Dubnyk 24-8-3, GAA 1.88, SV% .936 (Probable)
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January 21, 2017