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Open the Gate: Blackhawks at Ducks Preview

The Blackhawks are on a season-high five-game win streak as they head to Anaheim.

Chicago Blackhawks v Anaheim Ducks Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

As the hockey world waits for the seemingly inevitable Patrick Kane trade, the Chicago Blackhawks will continue their road trip against the Anaheim Ducks on Monday Night.

Since the last time the Ducks and Blackhawks faced on Feb. 7 — a meeting in which the Ducks on 3-2 in overtime — Anaheim has had a rough go of it, losing six of its last eight games. As a result, the two teams’ position in the standings have flipped: Chicago is now two points up on Anaheim with two games in hand. In that span, the Ducks have been the worst team in shot attempt share (35.27 percent) and expected goals share (36.93 percent) at 5-on-5 by a large margin.

In the Battle of the Basement for Bedard, the Ducks have really been pulling out the all the anchors in recent games. However, they might have gained a little upward momentum after winning their last two games, including a victory on Saturday that ended the Carolina Hurricanes’ win streak at five games.

On the season, the Ducks have been one of the worst offensive teams — just 2.48 goals per game — but they’ve scored slightly above that recently with 2.75 in the last eight. They only have a few standouts, like Cam Fowler (2 G, 6 A in last eight games) and Trevor Zegras (1 G, 6 A), but they managed to get contributions from most of the top-four defenders and several different forwards.

Kevin Shattenkirk and Dmitry Kulikov each had five points each while John Klingberg rounded out the top four with two goals and two assists, though he played in only five of those eight games. The Ducks also had six forwards get at least half a point per game: Frank Vatrano (3 G, 1 A), Mason McTavish (3 G, 1 A), Isac Lundestrom (2 G, 2 A), Jakob Silfverberg (2 G, 2 A), Derek Grant (1 G, 3 A), and Ryan Strome (1 G, 3 A). Troy Terry was actually injured during the Chicago game on Feb. 7, so he missed all but two of the Ducks’ last eight games, though he picked two goals in those games.

While still lacking overall, Anaheim’s offense is, at least, still pretty balanced. But nothing positive can be said about its defensive play. The Ducks have allowed a league-worst 37.25 shots against per game in those eight games — the next closest team during that period is the Arizona Coyotes with 28.13 shots against per game. Per game, Anaheim also allowed 33.28 scoring chances against, 16.38 high danger chances against, and five goals against — all league-worst by solid margins.

Poor John Gibson, who started in net for six of those games, did a fairly admirable job with his .910 save-percentage, but the sheer volume and quality of shots means his record was just 2-3-1.

Of note, the Ducks will be without Urho Vaakanainen — out with an undisclosed injury since Jan. 29 — as well as Adam Henrique — who suffered a lower-body injury during the Tampa Bay Lightning game last Tuesday.

Tale of the Tape

Blackhawks — Statistic — Ducks

43.01% (31st) — Corsi For — 42.74% (32nd)

41.07% (31st) — Expected goals for — 39.72% (32nd)

2.50 (31st) — Goals per game — 2.48 (22nd)

3.57 (26th) — Goals against per game — 4.12 (32nd)

54.6% (3rd) — Faceoffs — 46.0% (28th)

17.3% (27th) — Power play — 15.7% (31st)

76.3% (21st) — Penalty kill — 73.3% (29th)

How to watch

When: 9:00 p.m. CT

Where: Honda Center, Anaheim

TV: NBC Sports Chicago

Stream: ESPN+