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Ducks vs Panthers Preview: Pecking and Scratching

SB Nation logo SB Nation 2/19/2020 QuackAttackSyring
a hockey game in the snow © Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

GAME 60

Date: Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Time: 7:00 PM PST

Location: Honda Center

TV: Prime Ticket

Radio: AM 830

The Anaheim Ducks will play host to the Florida Panthers tonight as they begin a six game home stand. This will be the final meeting of the season between the two teams, who haven’t played since back in November when it took overtime for the Panthers to win.

Anaheim is coming off a rough loss to the Calgary Flames, which involved a five goal third period collapse. This was the Ducks second loss to the Flames in less than a week. Fortunately, they don’t have to think about the Flames again until the end of March and can focus on taking down a Panthers team that is sitting on the bubble of being in the playoffs. I suppose we hope history repeats itself, as the Ducks promptly won their next game 5-1 after losing to the Flames the first time.

Florida is in a “every game matters” mode. They currently sit two points out of a playoff spot, but have two games in hand on the Maple Leafs. They have a better chance at finishing third in their division than they do at grabbing a wild card spot. They haven’t done themselves a lot of favors lately, losing six of the last eight, but they have a real opportunity to jump back ahead of the Leafs, being that Florida plays the bottom-feeding Ducks and Kings while the Leafs have to face the Penguins (all occurring over the next two days).

It’s going to be a grind right down to the finish, but they have some good talent in the likes of Jonathan Huberdeau, Aleksander Barkov, and so on.

Keys to the Game

Keep the Scoring Going: Despite the loss the Flames, the Ducks still put up four goals, and nine total goals over the past two games. For a team that ranks 29th in goals for per game, four-plus goals is pretty darn good. If they can keep that scoring pace up, getting contributions from the likes of Adam Henrique, Troy Terry, and the unstoppable Derek Grant, we could see the Ducks have some exciting games to finish out the season.

Don’t Suck (credit to my wife): Simple as that. The Ducks should focus on not making any stupid mistakes or give up glaring offensive chances. John Gibson needs to play an adequate game so the Ducks have a chance. And the offense needs to find ways to generate chances. It sounds super easy as I’m typing it out so I don’t see why the Ducks can’t do all that.

All Eyes on Me

Adam Henrique has been the Ducks best player as of late. He has five goals and seven points over his last six games. He is clicking well with Troy Terry and Nick Ritchie and seems to be benefitting from the slight reduction in ice time. His line should have a decent advantage matching up against either the second or third line of the Panthers.

Fear Jonathan Huberdeau, fear him. He’s so good! 21 goals and 71 points on the year ties him for 10th in the league in scoring. He is just plain fun to watch. So is Aleksander Barkov, and they play on a line together!

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