The Anaheim Ducks and New Jersey Devils are both in search of their wins of the season. The Ducks and Devils have played in some close games, but neither have secured a victory for their respective side. The Ducks were slow starters in 2015-16, where it didn’t take until around December and the New Year for them to start to play quality hockey. It was ugly early, with the Ducks struggling to play .500 hockey in the beginning stages of the season. The positive of it all, was that the Ducks weren’t going to peak too early in the year, maybe they’d hit their stride when it mattered most in the playoffs. However, Anaheim choked again and fell in the first-round of the NHL playoffs, a seventh game loss to the Nashville Predators.
The loss sealed the fate of head coach Bruce Boudreau, who was fired and replaced by former Ducks and Leafs’ coach, Randy Carlyle. Carlyle was with the Ducks the last time they won the Stanley Cup in 2007. He was pegged as the guy to turn the Toronto Maple Leafs around, but nothing really came of his time in Toronto. The Ducks are hoping Carlyle is the answer to their playoffs woes, which haven’t been fixed ever since he departed California. The Ducks have losses to Stars, Penguins, and Islanders on their resume thus far. All quality teams, but the Ducks are supposed to be one themselves. Is this going to be 2015-16 all over again?
The Ducks certainly have started out stale. They make their bread at home, and have yet to play a game in Anaheim. This will be their fourth straight game on the road, a tough draw to open the season. But it’s nicer to get these road trips out of the way at the start of the season rather than later. After a 3-2 loss to the Islanders, the Ducks don’t have to go far to find their next opponent, the New Jersey Devils. The Devils have an overtime loss against the Panthers and 3-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. This will be their home opener following those two on the road. Let’s get to the rest of the writeup and my NHL pick for Tuesday night below.
The Devils had the Lightning on the ropes, jumping out to a 2-0 lead over the talented Lightning. That lead evaporated, and it resulted in a 3-2 loss. The Devils finished 38-36-8 to finish a few games back of the playoffs. They gave it a shot, but they’re one of those teams who look great in spots and not so good elsewhere. Meanwhile, the Ducks overcame that poor start to finish 46-25-11. They were better at home, with an average record of 21-15-5 on the road.
The Ducks have performed quite well against the Devils in recent memory. The Devils have been unable to figure them out, dropping five straight games. New Jersey’s last win against the Ducks came on November 20th, 2013. The Devils did win four in a row before that point, though. The Ducks are 6-4 in their last ten meetings. The home team has looked better, posting a 13-6-1 record. Neither team has been able to get the offense going thus far, with the Ducks scoring 2 goals per game and 1.5 goals for the Devils. That was really the issue for the Ducks during that early season slump a year ago, and the Devils are well-known for their deficiencies on offense. I sense a low scoring game tonight. The Devils would love to sit back on the puck and play their style against a tired Ducks team on their fourth game on the road. The UNDER looks good, as we search for a 5-0 start to the NHL season.
PICK: UNDER 5 GOALS (-115)