By Michael Walters
The Anaheim Ducks(29-17-10) take on the Washington Capitals(38-11-6) tonight. This is the first meeting of the season between these two clubs.
Randy Carlyle changed up his forward lineup and it worked as the Ducks beat the Buffalo Sabres 5-2. Corey Perry led the way with two goals as he skated with Rickard Rakell and Nick Ritchie. Anaheim also racked up 44 shots on net in back-to-back games. Rickard Rakell scored his 22nd goal last night which leads the team. Ryan Kesler is second in scoring with 18 goals. Jakob Silfverberg has 16 goals. Cam Fowler, Nick Ritchie, Andrew Cogliano, and Corey Perry all have 11. Anaheim is in second place in the Pacific Division.
Keys To The Game
The Ducks will have their hands full tonight as they take on the red-hot Capitals. Washington averages 3.36 goals per game which is third best in the league. They also only give up 2.05 goals against per game, which is the best in the NHL. Anaheim has played better in their last two games and will need a solid effort again tonight. If the Ducks can get a lead early and keep piling on the shots, then they have a chance to pull out two points in this contest.
Anaheim’s Projected Lineup
John Gibson 21-13-8, GAA 2.29, SV% .920 (Unconfirmed)
The Capitals are winners of five games in a row in which they have scored five or more goals in four of those wins. They have the best record in the league with 38 wins and have a goal differential of a whopping +69. They have scored 185 goals this season, which is only second to Pittsburgh(188). Alex Ovechkin leads the team with 26 goals. T.J. Oshie is second with 22 goals. Marcus Johansson and Justin Williams both have 18 goals.
Keys To The Game
The Capitals will continue to use their speed get in on the forecheck and also to counter-attack as well. They rank in the top 10 in special teams with a 21.9% efficient power play and 84.4% penalty kill. If the Capitals have a weakness, it might be their face-offs were they are barely 50%. If they score a couple goals early in this contest, then it will be difficult for Anaheim to try to come back.
Washington’s Projected Lineup
Braden Holtby, 28-8-4, GAA 1.97, .928 SV% (Unconfirmed)
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February 11, 2017