The Anaheim Ducks begin a five-game road trip in Chicago at the United Center on Saturday night. The finale of the road trip won’t take place until after the All-Star break, so it’s a bit of a quirky five-game roadie. Anaheim will not be at home to play at the Honda Center until January 29th against the Arizona Coyotes.
The road is unlikely to help them out much, but we’ll see if they can find some momentum going into the break. With a record of 17-22-5, it would likely be irrelevant with respects to making a run this season, though. They’re dead last in the Pacific Division, with the Vegas Golden Knights bypassing them thanks to a win in Las Vegas on Thursday night.
If anything, the All-Star break should provide the front office with their trade deadline game plan. They are likely going to take more than a few calls regarding the availability of some veterans on the club. The Ducks have been tinkering with things in the past year, rather than admitting defeat and going into full blown rebuild mode.
It’s never easy to accept that a serious rebuild is necessary, but the Ducks should be ready to blow things up some more after the departure of Corey Perry in the offseason. He along with Andrew Cogliano both signed with the Stars in an attempt to latch on for a deep playoff run in Dallas.
The Ducks are coming off a 3-0 loss against the Stars on Thursday night. Perry was not eligible to play in his return to Anaheim because of a suspension. That was a result of an elbow in the Winter Classic that knocked out Ryan Ellis of the Predators. The Ducks were also losers against a tired Blue Jackets team on a back-to-back after playing the night before in Los Angeles.
Defensively the Ducks showed how leaky they can be in that one, and then showed in the next outing how their offence is dreadful. Anaheim are winners in one of their last six games, with a shootout win over the Predators the only positive outcome to show for that stretch. The Predators thought the loss was so bad that it ultimately resulted in Peter Laviolette getting fired.
We’ll see what kind of motivation they can find to compete in Chicago tonight against a Blackhawks team coming on the heels of a 5-2 loss. It was a closer game than the scorer indicated, with the Predators scoring two empty netters, including a goalie goal from Pekka Rinne. The Blackhawks enter Saturday with a record of 19-20-6 and 44 points as they sit in the basement of the Central Division. Head below for our free Ducks vs. Blackhawks pick.
Anaheim Ducks vs. Chicago Blackhawks Betting Odds:
Ducks vs. Blackhawks Prediction:
The Ducks were dealt a blow recently when Jakob Silfverberg left the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Fortunately for the Ducks, it could have been a lot worse and he isn’t expected to miss an extended period of time. He is currently listed as questionable to play against the Blackhawks with an upper-body injury. Silfverberg out for more than a couple of weeks would spell a lot of trouble for the Ducks.
They’d go from a bad team to really bad. He was selected to go to the All-Star Game, but will not be participating in that exhibition contest. Silfverberg leads the Ducks with 15 goals and second on the roster with 28 points. Without Silfverberg, there are only three other Ducks with double-digit goals. Richard Rakell and Cam Fowler are the only regular contributors with a +/- beyond 0.
For a team struggling to generate offence, subtracting Silfverberg from the equation may make them the worst offence in the NHL. They weren’t good with him to begin with, so take away an All-Star and we get what happened against the Stars on Thursday night. The Stars have one of the best defences in the NHL, but getting shutout is also a reflection of an anemic offence.
Anaheim are 30th in the NHL with 2.48 goals scored game. If Silfverberg is not on the Ducks, that removes a talented playmaker from the lineup. Hence, as bad as 2.48 goals per game is, it would most certainly be worse than that without him. With his status for this one pretty shaky, the Blackhawks would catch a major break here if they don’t have to worry about him.
The Ducks have not been able to find their footing on the road in 2019-20. Note that they have notched just six wins away from home this season, with a record of 6-13-2 for the worst road record in the Western Conference. The offence has ran into a power outage, scoring 2.29 goals per game in opposing arenas.
In the Ducks’ previous ten outings, they’ve gotten hammered for 2.3 goals scored per contest and 3.8 goals against. Offensively they’ve been bad, though the defence has nothing to feel good about. John Gibson owns a 3.31 GAA and 0.896 save percentage in 16 games on the road this season. I think he’s a fairly decent goaltender who could help a team desperate for help in the crease, but is getting little help in Anaheim. This looks like a good spot for the Blackhawks to avoid a three-game losing skid.