By Michael Walters
The Ducks(28-15-9) begin the month of February with a six-game road trip starting in Florida. Tonight is the first meeting of the season between the Ducks and Panthers(22-19-10).
The Ducks came out of the All-Star Break with a solid 5-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. Jakob Silfverberg returned scoring two goals in the game. Nate Thompson played in his first of the season since being out with his injury. Rakell scored his 21st goal, which leads the team. Ryan Kesler is second in scoring with 18 goals. Jakob Silfverberg has 15 goals. Cam Fowler and Nick Ritchie both have 11. The Ducks are currently in second place in the Pacific, three points behind San Jose.
Keys To The Game
The Ducks look to build off the win against the Avalanche. For the first time, this season the Ducks are 100% healthy as Thompson joined the team. Anaheim continues to play well in the face-off circle, which has been an issue for Florida. The Ducks have also played better on their special teams. If the Ducks can jump out to an early lead, then they have a good chance to earn two points tonight.
Anaheim’s Projected Lineup
John Gibson 20-11-8, GAA 2.28, SV% .920 (Unconfirmed)
The Panthers come into this game 5th place in the Atlantic Division and four points out of a playoff spot. They are currently on a two-game winning streak having edged Tampa Bay 2-1 in overtime and then winning 6-5 in a high scoring affair against Ottawa. The Panthers will be getting back two forwards tonight, Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau, who both had been out with injuries. Vincent Trocheck leads the team with 18 goals. Jon Marchessault has 15 goals. Jaromir Jagr and three others have nine goals.
Keys To The Game
The Panthers are one of the best penalty killing teams at 84.5% but are only 15.2% efficient on the power play. They need to cash in on their chances when they get them tonight with the extra man. The Panthers do average over 31 shots per game and also allow over 31 shots against. This game could be high paced with end-to-end action. With Barkov and Huberdeau back, Florida will be more dangerous offensively in this contest.
Florida’s Projected Lineup (Per Dailyfaceoff.com)
Jonathan Huberdeau – Aleksander Barkov – Jaromir Jagr
Jussi Jokinen – Vincent Trocheck – Reilly Smith
Michael Sgarbossa – Nick Bjugstad – Jon Marchessault
Shawn Thornton – Derek MacKenzie – Colton Sceviour
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February 3, 2017