Duck Hunting!! Chicago vs Anaheim Preview

By Keith Schultz

The Ducks visit Chicago tonight (picture courtesy of

Game #13-Anaheim Ducks (8-2-1) vs Chicago Blackhawks (10-0-2)

 Game Time– 7:30 Central Time TV-CSN-Chicago, Prime

 Radio– WGN Radio 

Preview- The Anaheim Ducks arrived in Chicago Sunday on their current 6 game road trip. This will be their 4th game of the trip which will be completed in just 11 days.  The Ducks are playing very good hockey with currently the 2nd best record in the Western Conference.  The Ducks have won five out of their last six games going into tonight’s showdown with the Hawks, and they are led by the ageless (42) Teemu Selanne who leads the team in scoring with 4 goals and 10 assists.  In years past the Ducks have been more of a lockdown defensive team that struggled putting pucks in the net, but that hasn’t been the case this season with the Ducks averaging 3.36 goals a game and they have already scored 6 or more goals three times in just 11 contests.  The Ducks scoring is very balanced with 8 different players on their roster with at least 4 goals scored including Saku Koivu and Bobby Ryan.

 If you are looking for a weakness on the Ducks going into tonight it has been their Penalty Kill. They currently rank 29th in this department allowing 13 goals on 40 chances.  The real strength has been the production they have received from rookie goalie Viktor Fasth who won his first five starts. Whether Fasth or opening day starter Jonas Hiller starts tonight it will be a tough task for the Hawks to get pucks past the Duck net minders.

 The Blackhawks finally return home to the United Center after the much talked about 10 road games out of 12 to start the season.  In most cases after returning home after an extended successful road trip, the first game home is the most dangerous especially against a team that is just as hot.  The offense for the Hawks is being led by it’s stars Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, but  the lower lines that have really provided the extra punch the team needed, even Sunday night in Nashville when it was Marcus Kruger that kick started the offense with his goal off a Predators turnover.

The Hawks weakness still remains the power play which needs to start clicking especailly against the 29th rated penalty kill tonight.  The Hawks only had 1.5 chances Sunday night and had great pressure with no results on the Power play against the Predators.  The penalty kill still ranks #1 in the league which hopefully will not get complacent just because they are finally skating on home ice.

An interesting side note in the first of three meetings between these two franchises is that the Ducks hold the record for best start to begin a season without a regulation loss which occurred in the 2006-2007 season when they started 12-0-4 and oh by the way they went on to win the Stanley Cup that season, so yes there are benefits to a fast start!

Prediction– This game looks like it has all the markings of an overtime duel with the good guys pulling it out with some Kane magic in a shoot out.

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