Anaheim Ducks (54-20-8) at Pittsburgh Penguins (51-24-7)
|Date & Time||Thursday October 9, 2014, 7:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Pittsburgh Penguins / Anaheim Ducks --- Over/Under:
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
The Ducks and Penguins meet up in Pittsburgh in what some people perceive as a possible Stanley Cup Finals preview.
The Anaheim Ducks were one of the best teams in the NHL last season but unfortunately they couldn’t turn their regular season success into playoff success as they ran into a red hot Kings team that outlasted them in a fantastic seven game set. The Ducks are back though and are hungry for more after a disappointing exit and they start things off with a bang against Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins in what is one of the best opening weekend matchups on the slate. The Ducks sent Jonas Hiller packing after it was clear he couldn’t hack it as the team’s starter anymore and instead they are going with youngsters Frederik Andersen and John Gibson with the latter likely getting the starter’s role from the get go after he was handed the job in last year’s playoffs. The Ducks are loaded up front with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry and have brought in former Canucks centreman Ryan Kesler who headlines one of the best second lines in hockey and should be a catalyst for the team’s secondary scoring.
The Penguins underwent a bit of a facelift in the offseason as they lost both Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen to the Washington Capitals but brought in underrated scoring threat Patric Hornqvist and veteran blue liner Christian Ehrhoff who is looking to prove he is still a top four defenseman in this league. The Pens could be without Evgeni Malkin for this one as he suffered an injury in the preseason and with James Neal a member of the Predators this season it will be on the shoulders of Crosby even more so to get his team off to a good start. The other storyline surrounding this team remains in goal as Marc-Andre Fleury’s inconsistent play continues to plague the team’s ability to remain competitive and if he struggles in the early going this season look for former San Jose and Phoenix netminder Thomas Greiss to get his fair share of action. I am one of Crosby’s biggest supporters but I don’t like the outlook for the Pens this season as I think they lost a lot and didn’t get much in return and while it is never a good idea to bet against Crosby I just think the Ducks are a much better team and should get the victory in this one.