By Michael Walters
The Anaheim Ducks(30-18-10) return home to face the Florida Panthers(25-20-10). The Ducks played the Panthers earlier in the month in Florida and lost 2-1.
The Ducks finished the road trip with a great performance against the Minnesota which resulted in a 1-0 win. Unfortunately, in the third period, Antoine Vermette was unhappy with one of the linesmen and tapped him with his stick. Vermette has been suspended for 10 games as a result. After finding a forward lineup that won two of Anaheim’s last three games, Randy Carlyle will have to adjust the lineup again tonight. It appears that Ondrej Kase might be moved into Vermette’s spot with Ryan Getzlaf and Jakob Silfverberg. The other top two lines appear unchanged. 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 to adjust again with Vermette out. John Gibson played out of his mind in the last game against the Wild. Hopefully, the Ducks can generate some more offense for him tonight. The Ducks only scored once in their previous meeting against Florida. Anaheim’s power play is 10th in the league at just over 20% efficiency, but Carlyle’s emphasis yesterday at practice was special teams. Florida gives up over 31 shots against per game so the Ducks should get some quality looks in this contest.
Anaheim’s Projected Lineup
Ondrej Kase – Ryan Getzlaf – Jakob Silfverberg
Andrew Cogliano – Ryan Kesler – Logan Shaw
Nick Ritchie – Rickard Rakell – Corey Perry
Joseph Cramarossa – Nate Thompson – Jared Boll / Corey Tropp
John Gibson 22-14-8, GAA 2.30, SV% .921 (Unconfirmed)
Since beating Anaheim 2-1, the Panthers have been involved in three high-scoring affairs. They lost to Los Angeles 6-3, then beat Nashville 7-4 and San Jose 6-5. Florida currently sits in 5th place in the Atlantic Division and are just outside a playoff spot with 60 points. Vincent Trocheck leads the team with 20 goals. Jonathan Marchessault has 16 goals and Aleksander Barkov has 13.
Keys To The Game
Florida hasn’t had issues with scoring recently, but they can’t seem to play much defense as well. They average over 31 shots a game, but also give up just as many. Jonathan Huberdeau has been a key to Florida’s recent offensive success. Since coming back from injury, Huberdeau has seven points in four games (3 G + 4A). Aleksander Barkov is another one to watch. He came back from injury this month and has four goals in four games.
Florida’s Projected Lineup
Jonathan Huberdeau – Aleksander Barkov – Jaromir Jagr
Jussi Jokinen – Vincent Trocheck – Reilly Smith
Michael Sgarbossa – Nick Bjugstad – Jon Marchessault
Shawn Thornton – Derek MacKenzie – Colton Sceviour
James Reimer 10-6-4, GAA 2.55, SV% .915 (Unconfirmed)
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February 16, 2017