Minnesota Wild (24-9-3-2) vs. Anaheim Ducks (21-12-7-1)
When: 8:00 PM ET, Sunday, January 8, 2017
Where: Honda Center, Anaheim, California
Lines: Minnesota +100 / Anaheim -120
After three consecutive wins on their own ice, the Anaheim Ducks (1st in Pacific Division) will be looking to continue their perfect form during the current 5-game homestand with a contest against the Minnesota Wild (2nd in Central), who have been impressive throughout the season…
The Wild are not slowing down
After seeing their franchise-record 12-game winning streak broken by the Columbus Blue Jackets on New Year’s Eve, the Minnesota Wild (24-9-5) have not cried themselves to sleep. The heroic 5-4 victory against the San Jose Sharks, battling back from a 4-2 deficit during the last 15 minutes of the game, was the perfect response on Thursday. The 4-3 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on Saturday, meanwhile, is also nothing to be embarrassed about. Despite being outshot 36-24, the Wild remained in the game until the very end, with Mikko Koivu (12 goals, 28 points for the year), Charlie Coyle (13 goals, 32 points) and Zach Parise (8 goals, 19 points) all finding the back of the net.
Back-up goalie Darcy Kuemper stepped into the net to give Devan Dubnyk a breather before the clash in Anaheim just 24 hours later, making a total of 32 saves against the Kings. He is 4-2-2 now for the year with a 3.11 GAA. Dubnyk, meanwhile, has gone 20-7-3 so far this term with a tremendous 1.83 GAA and is 4-6-1 against the Ducks in previous meetings with a 2.24 career GAA. The Wild are currently 6th in the league with 53 points from 38 games and have a great 11-5-5 road record. They are scoring the 4th highest amount of goals per game (3.08), conceding the absolute lowest defensively (2.05 per contest). Minnesota ranks 15th in power play with an 18.4% success rate and 5th in penalty kill with an impressive 86.0% expertise.
The Ducks keep it going
The Anaheim Ducks (21-12-8) got a little scare at home against the league strugglers, the Arizona Coyotes, on Friday. The game went into the extra-time after a third period power play goal from the ‘Yotes. And given the fact that the Ducks were 0-for-7 in their previous overtime escapades, this was not something they expected against one of the weakest teams in the competition. Luckily for Anaheim, the knob on Arizona’s goalie Mike Smith’s stick broke and he failed to get the puck out of the crease, giving Ondrej Kase (4 goals, 10 points for the year) a chance to finish the contest 3-2 with just 36 seconds left in the overtime. Joseph Cramarossa (3 goals, 7 points) and Chris Wagner (3 goals, 3 points) both netted during regulation and the Ducks have now gone 4-0-1 in their past five outings, earning points in their last seven games (4-0-3).
John Gibson started his 29th outing for the Ducks this term, making 21 saves on 23 shots. He is 15-9-7 for the year so far with a 2.48 GAA and has gone 2-0-0 against Minnesota in the past with an excellent 1.00 GAA. The Ducks are currently 8th in the league with 50 points from 41 games and have a decent 13-4-2 home record. They are scoring the 16th highest amount of goals per game (2.68), conceding the 16th lowest amount in the defensive zone (2.68 per outing). Anaheim has the 4th best power play in the NHL with a solid 22.7% success rate and ranks 16th in penalty kill with 81.5% efficiency.
- Under is 3-0-1 in Wild last 4 meetings with Ducks.
- Under is 4-1-2 in Wild last 7 meetings in Anaheim.
- Under is 2-0-2 in Ducks last 4 vs. Western Conference.
- Under is 4-1 in Ducks last 5 games playing on 1 day’s rest.
- Under is 4-1-2 in Ducks last 7 overall.
- Under is 3-1-1 in Ducks last 5 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
The Ducks will be meeting their former coach Bruce Boudreau for the first time since he joined the staff of the Minnesota Wild. And there will be no love lost between them, that’s for sure. Both teams are playing highly skilled, professional, exciting hockey this season, so expect a game as close as they come. With a lot of goals? Erm… Probably not!