Anaheim enters Sunday’s action in the second and final wild card spot in the Western Conference with 76 points obtained in 65 games played. Just behind them are Colorado (75 in 64), St. Louis (75 in 66) and Calgary (73 in 66), so two points are vital for the Ducks to keep pace. The Hawks did Anaheim a favor on Saturday by rallying to beat the Los Angeles Kings, who sit only one point ahead of the Ducks in the Pacific Division standings.
The Ducks’ most recent outing was a 4-2 home win against the Columbus Blue Jackets, which followed a pair of losses to the Arizona Coyotes and Edmonton Oilers, who both are nowhere near playoff contention. Playing down to their opponent has been a problem for Anaheim lately, with losses to Detroit Red Wings and Ottawa Senators all coming in the last month along with the defeats to Arizona and Edmonton.
Anaheim will get a lineup boost with Ryan Getzlaf expected back in after dealing with the flu. Rickard Rakell remains the goals (26) and points (53) leader for the Ducks while enjoying a breakout fourth season in the NHL. Getzlaf is averaging more than a point per game, but has been limited to only 40 games this season. Elsewhere, the players who make this such an easy team to hate are still here, with Corey Perry amassing 37 points in 54 games and Ryan “no human can withstood that many hits” Kesler with a paltry eight points in his 27 games. All those injuries may finally be adding up for one of the Hawks’ biggest villains in recent memory.
There’s a feel-good atmosphere around the Hawks after Saturday’s surprising comeback win over the Kings. In their previous two meetings with the Ducks, Chicago lost 3-2 three weeks ago during the month of misery and curb-stomped the Ducks 7-3 just after Thanksgiving. The assumption here is the lineup will remain largely the same with the exception of a goalie change on the tail-end of a back-to-back, but who knows at this point? On Saturday, Chicago proved it hasn’t checked out for the rest of the season despite the lack of playoff aspirations, which could help make this last month a bit more enjoyable. And tank wins be damned, playing the role of spoiler is a hell of a lot more fun anyway.
|F1||Brandon Saad - Jonathan Toews - Patrick Kane|
|F2||Alex DeBrincat - Nick Schmaltz - Vinnie Hinostroza|
|F3||Tomas Jurco - Artem Anisimov - Anthony Duclair|
|F4||Patrick Sharp - David Kampf - Matthew Highmore|
|D1||Duncan Keith - Connor Murphy|
|D2||Erik Gustaffson - Brent Seabrook|
|D3||Carl Dahlstrom - Jordan Oesterle|
|F1||Rickard Rackell - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry|
|F2||Andrew Cogliano - Ryan Kesler - Jakob Silfverberg|
|F3||Nick Ritchie - Adam Henrique - Ondrej Kase|
|F4||Jason Chimera - Antoine Vermette - Chris Kelly|
|D1||Cam Fowler - Brandon Montour|
|D2||Hampus Lindholm - Francois Beauchemin|
|D3||Marcus Pettersson - Josh Manson|
|Goaltender||John Gibson or Ryan Miller|
*Lines are subject to change.
How to watch Blackhawks at Ducks
Start time: 3 p.m. CT
Location: Honda Center, Anaheim
TV: NBC Sports Chicago, NHL Network