RECORDS: Hawks 9-14-5 Ducks 14-10-5
PUCK DROP: 9:30
HERE WE GO AGAIN IT’S NEVER GONNA END: Anaheim Calling
God, writing that record out just hurts.
The Hawks quickly jaunt out west this week for a back-to-back against Anaheim and Vegas, and I’m sure landing in Vegas really late curtails any urge to enjoy the splendors and luxuries of Sin City–what I’m saying is that the Hawks will look like particular shit tomorrow night. But we’re not there yet. Let’s deal with a slog with the Ducks first.
Starting with the local Westside Hockey Club. There wouldn’t appear to many changes. Having failed to launch Chris Kunitz headfirst into a landfill at great speed, our best hope is that his “veteran leadership” that cost the Hawks any chance of a point on Sunday lands him in the pressbox for the foreseeable future. Erik Gustafsson should draw back in after a one-game ball-tap, which should send Jan Rutta back into the darkness of the Honda Center on his way to Rockford. Connor Murphy is on the trip but is not likely to play either game, but Sunday against Les Habitants would seem to be likely.
As for the rest of it, there isn’t much left to say. The forwards will get jumbled. Patrick Kane will play everywhere. We hope to notice Brendan Perlini at all. We hope that Dylan Strome builds on what was a decent game on Sunday. But if there’s ever a time to claim some new ground, it’s tonight.
Because don’t be fooled by the Ducks record or placing in a Pacific Division that has all the momentum of a pig in shit. This team BUH-LOWS. They’re on pace to give up a record number of shots per game. They give up the second-most attempts per game, and have the fourth-worst xGA/60 (care to guess who has the first?). They basically get shelled every night, and only heroic work by both John Gibson and Ryan Miller have kept this team from loitering around the entrance to the drugstore with the Hawks, Blues, and Kings.
Gibby, I can call him that, has cooled off a touch since his unholy October, but still came up with a .921 in November and had put up a 34- and 44-save effort in his two starts before getting clocked by the Capitals. Perhaps because of that, and blatant lack of respect for what the Hawks are, they’ll get to see Ryan Miller tonight, who’s only been at .954 at evens this year. So that’s nice.
Up front, the Ducks have a clear delineation from their top-six to the bottom-six. The top line of Pontus Aberg– Ryan Getzlaf–Rickard Rakell has been a weapon of late, with Aberg benefitting the most. I’m not telling you Getzlaf found his long-lost fuck to give, but he’s more than talented enough to set up plays while floating around the outside and reading…well I don’t think he can read but whatever dumbass fucks like him read. The second line is being carried by Adam Henrique, and both of these units start exclusively in the offensive zone. The next lines start exclusively in their own end, and because Ryan Kesler has maggots crawling out of every orifice now, they can’t escape.
The defense had been missing Hampus! Hampus! for a while, and will be without Cam Fowler for longer still. And while they want to believe that Brandon Montour and Josh Manson are that good to justify giving up on Shea Theodore as he excels in Vegas, they’ve been having their brains turned into potato soup most of the year. Maybe a fully-healthy Fowler and Lindholm help that, but this is a Randy Carlyle team and Randy Carlyle teams are terrible metrically while he finds reasons to justify his “Helmets Cause Concussions Because They Make Brains Hot” theory (this is a real thing).
Look, we all know the Hawks are going to get stuffed tomorrow night because they have in every meeting with the Knights. So if they actually still care, and I’m not convinced they do, and want to get a win just to see if they can still feel anymore, this would be the time. The Ducks are bad. The Hawks already deservedly beat them once this season.
Just get a win. Because it might be a nice change of pace.
Game #29 Preview Suite