The Anaheim Ducks got their biggest win of the year last night with an impressive performance over the Lightning. They went into the 3rd tied at 1 and came out of the night with a 3-1 win over the then 1st place Lightning. With the Lightning losing and Buffalo winning their tenth straight game, the Sabres jump into 1st place overall in the NHL. It was their 10th win in a row to propel them to the top of the league. The Lightning will be alright despite the loss, but we’ll see if the Ducks can muster up some momentum from this win.
Anaheim move to 11-10-3 with the victory, so there is still a lot of work left to do. Their core isn’t getting any younger, though, and there are a bunch of young talented teams out there who are going to be too much to keep up with. The Panthers are coming off a hard overtime win over the Devils in Sunrise. It was a good win for them after they dropped a 5-4 decision to the Blackhawks the game prior.
The Panthers are trying to survive without Roberto Luongo for the second stint this season. Fortunately, it won’t be for as long this time, as he’s day-to-day on the injury report. The Panthers just have to be careful that his knee doesn’t flare up from an extended workload later in the season. They need him to have a chance at the playoffs, so it’s going to be a delicate balance for Boughner the rest of the season.
James Reimer is serviceable enough to have start a game here and there. The win against the Devils snapped a three-game losing streak for the Panthers. They are 2-5 in their previous seven contests with an overall record of 9-9-2. The Ducks were able to jump above .500 yesterday. We’ll see if the Panthers can this evening. Head below for our free Ducks vs. Panthers pick for our NHL Wednesday card.
Anaheim Ducks vs. Florida Panthers Pick
The defensive effort much be better from the Panthers as well. This just isn’t all on Luongo, because his numbers have slipped due to a lack of support. So, perhaps, more accurately, the Panthers have to get more from their blue line to be a playoff team. Aaron Ekblad was selected with the first overall pick in the 2014 draft and he’s going to have to start acting like it. Not a bad player by any means, but he has struggled to develop and get better.
Those things are a prerequisite as the first pick in the draft. While there have been struggles defensively for the Panthers, the offence has been keeping the team afloat. They are averaging 3.56 goals per game at home and 3.27 overall. That should be good enough to afford themselves better than a .500 record, but too many defensive lapses are hurting immensely.
Despite the win for the Ducks in Tampa last night, they have had difficulties on the road in 2018-19. The Ducks were 3-7-0 on the road before their win last night. They’ve scored less than 2 goals per game and are 30th in the league in scoring, so the Panthers have an opportunity to improve their defensive numbers. Florida also have the Ducks right in a spot that they were hoping. They’re coming off a big win last night and must turn around to play an inferior opponent the next night. I expect a letdown for the Ducks in this spot. I’d look at the Panthers to take advantage of a slow Anaheim team to get the win on Wednesday.