PITTSBURGH PENGUINS @ ANAHEIM DUCKS
HONDA CENTER. ANAHEIM, CA
10:00 PM EST. ATTSN
The Penguins take their four game winning streak to the land of wild fires and mudslides to face the once Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. Judging by their extensive injury list and man-games lost number it has been open duck season all year long in Anaheim. They’ve struggled for the most part to a 20-16-9 record in a weak Pacific division and currently find themselves outside of the playoffs. The Ducks are a dark horse to make the playoffs and might be a good long shot for hockey bettors looking to rake in a big win. If you’re interested in making hockey bets, then bonus-promotion-code.com could be a good place to get started. The team is lead by Richard Rakell’s 32 points, that is not a typo, their team leader has 32 points in 45 games. Rakell is also the team leader with 15 goals scored. Other than that, just know that Paul Steigerwald is in a bar somewhere telling the poor soul beside him that John Gibson is from Pittsburgh.
Since there isn’t much else to report on in regards to the Ducks I figured I would help welcome the Steeler fans back to the world of Pittsburgh hockey. I am sorry for the early conversion, but at least there aren’t any fourth downs in hockey. To help ease the transition I made a quick list of 5 ways you can easily look like you haven’t missed a game.
1.Blame Kris Letang
1st half fourth and inches and the Steelers try a wide sweep? Letang’s fault. Onside kick instead of going deep? Letang’s fault. Traded Cole and Cutch away in the same week? You know it, Kris Letang. Anything and everything that happens on the ice is Kris Letang’s fault until further notice. If you want to join the exclusive of exclusives, you can even use #thanksletang at the end of your tweets after the Pens let up a goal
2.Matt Murray is not good
The last time you truly dedicated yourself to Penguin hockey you saw Matt Murray lead the team to its’ second Stanley Cup in a row. Unfortunately the fans have decided that that same man is no longer any good. In fact, his 22-9 playoff record coupled with a .928 save percentage and 1.95 GAA was just a benefit of playing behind good teams. Murray sucks. You personally think Fleury is better than Jarry, and Jarry is better than Murray. Murray should be competing with DeSmith for the backup gig. Sorry for the confusion, but what can you do?
3.The Penguins won’t make the playoffs
This one may come as a shock to you if you just looked at the standings, but it is true. In fact three weeks ago all the rage in the Pittsburgh media revolved around the Pens not making the playoffs and James Harrison stealing the Steelers signs when they play the Patriots in the playoffs. Now, many of those media members also told you the Penguins couldn’t win a cup when Letang’s season prematurely ended last year also, but again what can you do? Despite the teams flipping of the switch since that calendar changed to January, don’t get too excited, they are not allowed to make the playoffs. #thanksletang
4.The team needs a third line center
Ever since Nick Bonino went for the Benjamins the team has needed to replace him, everyone knows it but you need to make sure that everyone knows you know it. Unless you are talking about the team needing a 3C (you must type it like that on social media) then your ranking as a fan will drop quickly. In fact, when the Pens release the lines they used at morning skate today you should reply saying the team will look really good once “we” trade for a 3C.
5.This could be the Capitals year
They said in
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It is hard to imagine Sullivan making any changes to the forwards at this point until either Bryan Rust returns or someone else goes down. Though he has been tinkering with the combinations a bit in certain situations, these are the lines that have gotten the team back on track for the time being. Jake Guentzel is starting to adapt to the role of center in the national hockey league, I really liked his work on the Phil Kessel goal last game which I went over in detail in this post. I don’t believe Guentzel is the long term solution for this season in this role, but it is great to see him be able to get reps in for a position he will potentially be playing in the future. The defenders are also the same as Ian Cole continues to serve out his punishment for sleeping with Sullivan’s sister. Tristan Jarry will continue between the pipes as Matt Murray focuses on a personal family issue that has kept him off the ice for the last week. Murray is traveling with the team on this trip, for what it is worth.
The Ducks are slowly getting healthy and that is starting to show with their forward distribution. I have no clue if they are any good to be honest, it’s tough to judge a team that has been so injured. The one thing about the Ducks is they have a lot of players that know what it takes to get to the playoffs so you are completely wrong if you think this is a walk away win for the Pens. JT Brown is set to make his Anaheim debut on the fourth line after they snagged him off the waiver wire from Tampa.
WHO TO WATCH
FOR PITTSBURGH: THE TRIO
When the calendar flipped to January the trio of Crosby, Malkin and Kessel realized that “2018” is not yet stamped on the Stanley Cup and therefore neither are their names under it. Ever since the start of the month the trio has been carrying this team with some absolutely insane play and there is no point in thinking they will do anything different tonight. It’s been total Netentertainment this month. The team seems like it has flipped a switch, but that is mostly due to the resurgence of these three (well mainly Crosby and Malkin, because Phil has been solid all year) with the rest of the team following suit. The scariest thing for the rest of the league is the Penguins powerplay, a unit comprised of this trio that is currently leading the league in conversion percentage.
FOR ANAHEIM: THE 400 CLUB
It’s the Ducks, what do you want me to say? More important than any Duck out there is Sidney Crosby potentially reaching the 400 goal club. Tonight will be the 829th game of Crosby’s career and he enters it with 399 goals and 675 assists for a total of 1074 points. In addition to chasing down number 400, Crosby is also just 10 points shy of Alex Ovechkin’s 1084 career points despite playing in 137 less games. If Crosby continued his career averages and played those 137 games he would potentially be sitting with 465 goals and 786 assists for a whopping 1251 points in 966 games… damn you David Steckel.
The Penguins are rolling right now and it will be interesting to see what a bigger, physical team like the Ducks do to try and stop them. When the Pens played the bigger Bruins two weeks ago it turned into a wild shootout of a game, and much like in that one you have to like the Pens chances if they can get the Ducks going north and south. The Ducks are 6-3-1 in their last ten after losing to a red hot Avalanche team (what is happening right now???) so they aren’t the pushover their Pacific record makes you think they are. If the big three continue playing the way they have been there is no way I’m betting against the Pens in this one.