Where: Honda Center, Anaheim, CA
When: Friday, February 11, 2022; 7:00pm PST
Wait, who are we playing? Landlubber’s Guide to the Anaheim Ducks
Local TV: (*none*)
Streaming: ESPN+, Hulu Live
Local Radio: 950 AM KJR
SiriusXM: Channel 220
Last Time Out
The second meeting of these two teams was back in December. It took just 22 minutes for the Kraken to give up goals on the power play, penalty kill, and at even strength to fall behind 3-0. While they managed to prevent a complete collapse, they were never able to mount any form of comeback; the game ended with Anaheim earning a 4-1 victory.
Ryan Donato scored the lone goal for Seattle, who went 1-for-4 on the power play. Ducks goaltender John Gibson was never tested, making 19 saves on a paltry 20 Kraken shots, the majority of which were from the outside. It was the first of nine consecutive losses for Seattle, their worst stretch of the season.
Stats, Streaks, & Droughts
Anaheim is surging following a 4-game losing streak in January, winning four of their last six games, including victories over Boston and Tampa Bay. One thing of note, however, is that all but one of those six games was decided by a single goal. So Anaheim is in every game, but they are also at risk of losing every game.
As for Seattle, despite Wednesday’s very Kraken-esque loss the club is still 5-5-0 in their last 10 outings. Scoring remains the key problem: in the 14 games since January 10th (when play resumed after a series of COVID-related postponements) Seattle has put up two goals or fewer nine times. They are averaging exactly three goals against over that same span. Two goals for, three goals against; a 6-year-old can figure out that math.
Players To Watch
Anaheim forward Troy Terry continues to run away with the team scoring title, denting the twine more than twice as often as the 2nd place scorer. His 25 goals and 41 points leads the Ducks.
The other two dangerous weapons are center Trevor Zegras...
...and winger Rickard Rackell...
For Seattle, hustle-bug Colin Blackwell has himself a little 3-game point streak going at present, with an assist against both New York and Boston, and then this little beauty on Wednesday:
Calle Järnkrok is flying following the holiday break, with 6 goals and 4 helpers in that 45-day span. This tally against San Jose was particularly juicy...
And forward Morgan Geekie has gone without a goal since December 11th — I have a hunch he’s due. When he’s on, we get filthy snipes like this one...
Injuries, Illnesses, Additions, & Scratches
For the Ducks, forwards Sonny Milano and Max Jones, and defenseman Josh Manson are all on Injured Reserve and will not play. Apart from that the team is healthy, with nobody on LTIR or in COVID protocol. Anaheim is well-rested, having not played since their 2-1 loss to Detroit on January 31st, so we expect starter John Gibson to get the nod in goal.
For Seattle, the club got some good news on Wednesday afternoon as Jamie “Big Rig” Oleksiak was activated from IR. His status is probable for tonight. Apart from that, several players are inching their way back from injury but are still unavailable: Brandon Tanev (knee, out for season), Jaden Schwartz (hand, week-to-week), and Karson Kuhlman (upper body, timetable unknown) remain on injured reserve. Carson Soucy is still officially on the active roster, but is not able to play. Newcomer Austin Czarnik (see below) was taking reps on the third line alongside Alex Wennberg and Ryan Donato during practice on Thursday, so it’s possible that we see him make his Kraken debut this evening.
As for a goaltender, Philipp Grubauer has both starts against Anaheim so far, though he was relieved by Chris Driedger for the 3rd period in the last outing. Grubauer is not playing above his season averages to any significant degree, and with seven games in the next two weeks coach Dave Hakstol might decide to rest Gru and give Driedger the start. As we get better information we’ll have the latest for you on Twitter.
Odds & Ends
- In case you missed it in the Coverage section above, the Disney cabal is hogging the video feed tonight. Seattle-market viewers are not able to tune in on ROOT Sports NW. Instead the game will be available via the ESPN+ and Hulu streaming services. Send your complaints to NHL League Offices, Attn: Gary Bettman, 395 Ninth Avenue, New York, NY. Profanity optional, but encouraged.
- The Kraken have been busy on the waiver wire this week. On Tuesday they acquired forward Austin Czarnik from the New York Islanders; then on Wednesday Kraken Legend Dennis Cholowski returned to the organ-eye-zation. Seattle had claimed the young defenseman from the Detroit Red Wings during the expansion draft, only to have him claimed off waivers by the Washington Capitals just a week into the season. Cholowski has been assigned to Charlotte, and will help bolster the club’s depth on defense in the event the Kraken are sellers at the trade deadline.
- The Ducks made a front office move earlier this week, adding Hall of Fame defenseman Scott Niedermayer as a special advisor to the hockey operations department. Niedermayer played 18 seasons in the NHL, including 5 with Anaheim, before retiring in 2010.
- I’ve long since lost my appetite for the circus that is All-Star Weekend, but the aforementioned Trevor Zegras knows how to have fun with it.