The Anaheim Ducks (22-26-5) will take a trip over the border to take on the Montreal Canadiens (25-23-7) on Thursday at 7:00 PM. As one might guess from the five-hour flight it takes to get from Anaheim to Montreal, these teams are in different divisions as well as different conferences. This means that the only place their rankings can truly be compared is in the overall league standings. The Ducks are 27th in the league with 49 points, while the Canadiens are 22nd with 57 points. Their upcoming match will be the first of two during this season. The last time these teams met was on March 8th of last year. In that game, the Ducks came away with a decisive 8-2 victory at home.
Ducks Look to Extend Winning StreakThe Ducks have won their last two outings, making their last stretch one of the longest win streaks of the season for the struggling team. Two wins in a row are excellent news for them, given their current ranking in both their division and their conference. In the Pacific Division, things are looking rather bleak. Ranked 7th in the division, they are just one point away from tying for 6th with the San Jose Sharks. However, even if they manage to overtake the Sharks, they’ll then have at least another ten points before they can climb into the next slot. They’re ranked 14th in the Western Conference, though getting the required four or seven points seems much more obtainable at this point in the season.
Their last outing was on Tuesday, on the road against the Ottawa Senators. Though the game went past regulation into a shootout, the Ducks were still able to pull out two points. The final score was 3-2. It certainly wasn’t the prettiest game in the world, with Anaheim coach Dallas Eakins not being pleased with the number of turnovers, and crediting the win mostly to goalie John Gibson. Gibson saved 30 of 32 shots, with 5 of those shots being shorthanded chances. The Ducks’ netminder didn’t let any goals in on the shootout. The Ducks’ two regulation scorers, Nick Ritchie and Ondrej Kase were also the two that scored in the shootout to push the Ducks to their third consecutive win.
Canadiens in Need of Late-Season Surge
The Canadiens are far from having a great season, but their situation is more hopeful than that of their upcoming foe. In the Atlantic Division, Montreal is currently comfortably in possession of the 5th spot, with a four-point lead on the next closest team. However, the same can be true above them. The keepers of the 4th slot in the Atlantic- the Leafs, have a six-point advantage that the Canadiens will have to overtake to advance their position in the division. The same gap is what keeps them from moving up in the Eastern Conference, as of right now holding the 11th ranking. Going into their game against the Ducks, the Canadiens also have a shootout victory in their rearview. They last faced the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday and came away with a 5-4 victory after going past regulation. The Canadiens, who were trailing by three more than halfway into the second period, rallied with four unanswered goals. A late-game goal from the Devils evened the score and sent the two teams into overtime. The four regulation goal scorers for the Canadiens were Joel Armia with a short-handed goal, Nate Thompson, Nick Cousins, and Christian Folin. The lone shootout goal from either team was scored by recent addition to the team Ilya Kovalchuck. Due to Carey Price falling ill, the Canadiens had Charlie Lindgren in net, who stopped 24 of 20 shots.
- The Canadiens are 3-1-2 at home when outshot by their opponent.
- The Canadiens are 2-0-2 at home when the game is tied after the second period.
- The Ducks are 3-12-1 when their opponent scores first on the road.
- The Ducks are 5-15-3 overall when outshooting their opponent.