As the NHL trade deadline approaches, the Anaheim Ducks prepare to say goodbye to some players who will go on to chase the Stanley Cup elsewhere. Veterans like John Klingberg and Kevin Shattenkirk, both on expiring contracts, are likely to be moved. Max Comtois, a forward who will become a restricted free agent at the end of the season, has fallen out of favor with Ducks head coach Dallas Eakins and could be getting a change of scenery. Veteran forward Adam Henrique and goaltender Anthony Stolarz are both dealing with minor injuries, but speculation is still rampant about their status.
With this being one of the final games for this group of Ducks, will they be able to put on a strong performance against the Hurricanes? That feels a little like wishful thinking. The Hurricanes have been on a roll recently, winning five straight and 13 of their last 15 games. The Ducks, meanwhile, only just ended a six-game losing streak as they turned in a 4-2 win over the struggling Capitals.
The Ducks aren’t even in the same universe in terms of competitiveness as the Hurricanes. In seven of their last 10 games, the Ducks have allowed three or more goals. In 25 of their 59 games this season, the Ducks have allowed five or more goals. That’s happened just seven times for the Hurricanes this season.
The Ducks are also currently the lowest scoring team for the league, averaging just 2.47 goals per game over the course of the season. The number only marginally improves if you look just at the last 10 games, where their average sits at 2.6 goals per game. The Hurricanes meanwhile are averaging 3.39 goals per game, which puts them ninth in the league. Over their last 10 games, the Hurricanes have seen a big jump in scoring, averaging an astounding 4.1 goals.
All the Hurricanes need to do is play their own game tonight, rather than get pulled into any extra physicality or extracurriculars that the Ducks may try to instigate. As one of the league’s most penalized teams — they’ve been shorthanded 206 times, good for fourth in the league, and they’ve got a terrible penalty kill — the Ducks would love nothing more than to get the Hurricanes off their game.
- Jaccob Slavin plays in his 560th NHL game tonight, officially surpassing Justin Faulk to take sole possession of second-most games played by any Hurricanes defenseman in team history (post-relocation).
- A win tonight would mean a sweep on this current homestand, which would be just the second time in franchise history that a five-game home sweep was accomplished.
- The Hurricanes are 7-0-1 in the second game of back-to-backs this season.
- This is the second meeting between the Hurricanes and the Ducks. The previous game, held on December 6, resulted in a 4-3 overtime loss for the Hurricanes. Brady Skjei, Sebastian Aho, and Jordan Staal scored in that game.