Anaheim Ducks (42-20-7) at Minnesota Wild (37-23-7)
|Date & Time||Friday March 13, 2015, 8:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Minnesota Wild -121 / Anaheim Ducks +110 --- Over/Under: 5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+. Start your 7-day FREE trial today!|
The Anaheim Ducks are struggling a little bit right now, but perhaps that’s a blessing in disguise as we head down the stretch. Anaheim is one of several clubs in the league that has been consistently at the top of the standings, but come playoff time has had a very difficult time finding a way to win it all. Once again the Ducks look like they have a team that is capable of hoisting the Stanley Cup, but they’re going to need to be playing their best hockey when they get to the post season. Anaheim comes into Friday night’s contest against the Minnesota Wild losers of three straight games. After being embarrassed on home ice by the Pittsburgh Penguins the Ducks played pretty well against Vancouver, but it still resulted in a 2-1 loss. Wednesday night the Ducks got off to a great start in Calgary, but they couldn’t survive the poor goaltending they got in the second period. Ryan Getzlaf scored his 21st goal of the season just 22 seconds into the game to give Anaheim a quick 1-0 lead. Getzlaf would add his second of the night on the power play just a few minutes later and the Ducks were off and running. Calgary would control the period from that point on however, and answered back with two goals of their own to even the score. In the second period John Gibson was putrid. Gibson allowed thre goals on just four shots and finished the night with just 17 saves on 23 shots in the 6-3 loss. Goaltending was something that this hockey club got earlier this season some Frederik Andersen, and Gibson did well in replacing him when Andersen went down. It was a huge question mark coming into the year and turned into something that appeared to be a strength, but lately that hasn’t been the case. If the Ducks are going to make a lengthy run this post season they’re going to need their goaltenders to revert back to form.
The Minnesota Wild just keep rolling along, winning eight of their last 10 games overall heading into Friday night’s match up with the Ducks. After suffering a rough loss to Colorado on home ice on Sunday night, the Wild bounced back in a big way against the New Jersey Devils. The first period was an entertaining one, with the Devils out shooting the Wild 15-14 over the first 20 minutes. Sean Bergenheim recorded the only goal of the period, scoring his ninth of the season to give the Wild a 1-0 lead. In the second period Chris Stewart, Jared Spurgeon, and Thomas Vanek all scored for Minnesota as they took a 4-1 lead with them into the intermission. Jason Pominville and Vanek finished the scoring in the third period as the Wild cruised to a 6-2 win. This was one of those games that the Wild needed to win and they found a way to take control and never look back. Now they’re got to step up a bit in competition but they’re getting a club in Anaheim that has been scuffling lately. Things don’t get much easier for the Wild after this as they travel to St. Louis to take on the Blues and then to Nashville to face the Predators.
This should be a fun game to watch on Friday night between two teams that could meet next month. Minnesota has been playing the better hockey of late, but Anaheim does not want this losing streak to get to four games.