There’s no need for sugarcoating: the Ducks are a bad team. Anaheim rode strong goaltending to a 6-2 start but have since plummeted to the bottom of the Pacific Division with an 11-22-5 record in its last 38 games. It’s last game was a 3-0 defeat at home against the Dallas Stars on Thursday night.
Finding something the Ducks do well is a challenge. They’re ranked 14th in goals against (139) and 29th in goals for (113). Their power play is ranked 29th in the league at 15 percent and their penalty kills is ranked 23rd at 77.7 percent. Even the goaltending has regressed heavily from that hot start, with Ryan Miller and John Gibson combining for a .901 save percentage that is 20th in the league. According to Natural Stat Trick, Anaheim ranks 17th in HDCF% (49.94), 21st in CF% (48.88), and 27th in xGF% (47.67). By statistics simple or advanced, Anaheim is one of the worst teams in the league. Through 44 games the Ducks have 39 points, in a fierce battle with the New Jersey Devils (37 points) for the the second-worst record in the league but still miles from the league doormat that is the Detroit Red Wings franchise (27 points).
There are some familiar names here, of course. Ryan Getzlaf leads the team with 30 points while Jakob Silfverberg is the leading scorer with 15 goals. Rickard Rakell, Adam Henrique, Cam Fowler and Hampus Lindholm all remain on the roster but have not done enough this season to warrant further discussion here.
Meanwhile, the Blackhawks appear set to run out the same lineup that lost to the Nashville Predators on Thursday night, save for a change in net with Robin Lehner starting in place of Corey Crawford. Lehner hadn’t played since appearing to suffer a lower-body injury against the Vancouver Canucks on Jan. 2. giving Crawford the net for the last three games.
Regardless of who’s in net, this is as close to a must-win game as the Blackhawks can have in January. As detailed above, Anaheim is just not a good team. If Chicago has any hopes of making something out of a season that’s been trending down for the last few months, it can start by picking up what should be two fairly easy points in front of a home crowd this evening.
If not ... well, let’s just not go there yet.
Let’s go Hawks!
Blackhawks — Statistic — Ducks
48.1% (23rd) — Corsi For — 48.9% (21st)
50.0% (17th) — Faceoffs — 51.3% (7th)
2.84 (20th) — Goals per game — 2.48 (30th)
3.20 (22nd) — Goals against per game — 3.14 (18th)
15.5% (27th) — Power play — 15.0% (29th)
82.2% (9th) — Penalty kill — 77.7% (23rd)
Kubalik — Toews — Quenneville
Kampf — Dach — DeBrincat
Nylander — Carpenter — Kane
Highmore — Smith — Caggiula
Keith — Boqvist
Gustafsson — Murphy
Maatta — Koekkoek
Henrique — Getzlaf — Sprong
Comtois — Lundestrom — Rakell
Jones — Steel — Kase
Deslauriers — Shore — Rowney
Lindholm — Manson
Fowler — Gudbranson
Larsson — Del Zotto
How to watch
When: 7:30 p.m.
Where: United Center, Chicago
TV: NBC Sports Chicago
Live stream: NBC Sports app