On Friday night, the best team in the West is in Raleigh to face Carolina. Anaheim has only lost five games in regulation this season, and is off to the best start in franchise history. In fact, they're off to one of the best starts in the history of the NHL.
Tonight, though, the Ducks will have to be better than the best. With Ilya Bryzgalov AND J-S Giguere both out with groin injuries, the likely starter in the net is Mike Wall. He's only started one game at the NHL level, defeating Calgary 5-3 on November 26. He came in in relief of Giggy on Tuesday, and didn't allow anything as the Ducks squeaked by the Sharks 4-3.
Even at the AHL level, Wall doesn't have much experience. He appeared in 11 games for the Portland Pirates last season with a 5-5 record and a 3.38 GAA.
Of course the Ducks have an outstanding defense, and they will need to step up to protect their rookie keeper, who may be suspect between the pipes.
Unable to score a ticket, I'll have to watch this one from home.
Before the game, there'll be a ceremony honoring the Captain Rod Brind'Amour, who scored his 1,000th career point earlier this season. In doing so, he joined a class of only 71 players.
Also, FSN South color commentator Tripp Tracy will be doing his job from an on-ice perspective. I'm assuming he'll be lodged between the two benches, and hopefully we'll get some on-ice interviews during the game. That should be fun in itself.
I hate that I'll miss this. Both for the historic night, honoring Brindy, and for the opportunity to see the best team in hockey.
Hopefully Justin Williams and Erik Cole will have big nights. Eric Staal has been ice cold lately and really needs to bring it. He won't, though.
Sadly, I have to predict that the visitors will win. The Canes are tired, frustrated and injured. The Ducks are injured but rested. I'll say 5-3 Ducks. I'll predict that Teemu Selanne will be the best player. Of course I HOPE I'm wrong.
For Ducks-centric view on tonight's matchup, visit Girl with a Puck.
Same as last night, I'll open a comment thread and I'll post an almost liveblog during teevee timeouts.
Andrew Ladd and Kevyn Adams are both back on the ice for practice, but neither will be able to re-join the team. Frantisek Kaberle is getting closer to a return, Tim Gleason won't be back till late January, and I'd just as soon never see "Avi" Tanabe again. Two star defensemen and two forwards out for us.
For the Ducks, Giguere and Bryzgalev are both out. Defenseman Francois Beauchemin is out with a busted spleen. Also, defenseman Sean O'Donnell is out with a cut foot. Todd Merchant has some abdominal issue which has him sidelined as well. Two goalies a star defenseman and two other players out for them.
Yesterday, the Ducks made a deal with the Blackhawks which brought them Pens castoff goaltender Sebastien Caron and some spare parts. They gave up former Cane Bruno St. Jacques. All involved parties will report to their new team at the AHL level.
Puck drop shortly after the 7:00 Brind'Amour ceremony.
4 years ago