By Michael Walters
The Anaheim Ducks(29-18-10) finish up the road trip in Minnesota tonight against the Wild (37-12-6). The Ducks are currently 1-3-1 on this trip. Anaheim has played Minnesota twice this season, losing both times.
Randy Carlyle changed up his forward lineup for the last two games and the Ducks scored nine times in those two games. They beat the Buffalo Sabres 5-2 and then lost to Washington 6-4. The Ducks will face their old coach one more time before the season ends. Rickard Rakell leads the team with 22 goals. Ryan Kesler is second in scoring with 19 goals. Jakob Silfverberg has 17 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 a difficult test in their final game on this trip. Minnesota has one of the best defenses in the league as they only allow 2.31 goals against per game. Anaheim needs to have a better start in this game as opposed to their first period against Washington. The Ducks need to get a lead in this game and not allow Minnesota to play tight defense the entire time. The Wild do give up over 30 shots against per game, so the Ducks will have chances, but they need cash in if they want to end the road trip on a high note.
Anaheim’s Projected Lineup
John Gibson 21-14-8, GAA 2.36, SV% .918 (Unconfirmed)
With Bruce Boudreau at the helm, the Wild continue to roll having won four of their last five contests. Minnesota sits in first place in the Central Division with a goal differential of +58, which is second best in the league. The Wild are headed for the playoffs, but the question for them is how far can Boudreau take them. Nino Niederreiter leads the team with 19 goals. Mikael Granlund, Eric Staal, Mikko Koivu, and Jason Zucker each have 16 goals.
Keys To The Game
The Wild have been getting it done in all areas of the game. They are fourth in goals per game averaging 3.35 and second in goals against per game at 2.31. They have strong special teams as well with the league’s 6th best power play at 22.0% and 10th best penalty kill at 82.4%. When the Wild get a lead early, then it’s difficult to beat them because of their strong defensive game.
Minnesota’s Projected Lineup
Devan Dubnyk 31-9-3, GAA 1.99, .933 SV% (Unconfirmed)
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February 14, 2017