By Michael Walters
The Anaheim Ducks(34-22-10) head to Chicago to take on the Blackhawks(42-18-5). The Ducks are 0-1-0 against the Blackhawks this season.
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The Ducks got down in their last game against the Predators 3-1 but were able to rally to tie the game and send it to overtime. The Ducks pulled out the win in a shootout courtesy of Patrick Eaves‘ goal. Jonathan Bernier was in goal again as John Gibson missed another game. He is skating today at practice, but won’t start tonight. The Ducks will also be without Nick Ritchie, who suffered an upper-body injury and was unable to finish the game against Nashville. He didn’t make the road trip. The Ducks are tied for second place in the Pacific Division with Edmonton. Rickard Rakell leads the team with 27 goals. Ryan Kesler has 19 goals and Jakob Silfverberg has 18.
Keys To The Game
The Ducks have now altered wins and losses during their last 12 games. Anaheim will have a big test tonight if they want to break that streak and win two games in a row. The Ducks can’t afford to get down two goals to Chicago like they did two nights ago to Nashville. Patrick Eaves has been a welcomed addition to the Ducks. He had the game-winning shootout goal against Nashville and he has four points(2 G + 2 A) in five games with Anaheim since being traded. He is going to be a key for the Ducks down the stretch run of the season.
Anaheim’s Projected Lineup
Jonathan Bernier 11-7-2, GAA 2.85, SV% .904 (Unconfirmed)
The Blackhawks continue to battle it out with the Minnesota Wild for first place in the Central Division. Chicago sits just one point behind Minnesota in the standings. The Blackhawks are on a roll right now having won seven games in a row, which include victories over Minnesota and Pittsburgh. Patrick Kane leads the team with 29 goals. Artem Anisimov has 22, Marian Hossa has 21, and Artemi Panarin has 20.
Keys To The Game
Chicago gets out to a good start and usually puts other teams on the defensive. The Blackhawks are one of the best teams at scoring goals averaging exactly three goals per game. Their power play is operating at just under 20% at 19.4%. If they have a weakness, it’s their penalty kill. They are only 76.9% efficient at killing penalties which is 26th in the league. Chicago just needs to avoid taking unnecessary penalties if they want to continue their winning ways.
Chicago’s Projected Lineup
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March 9th, 2017