This one is the hot against not. Worse, the Avs remain without #1 center Ryan O’Reilly who has yet to sing a contract. Captain Gabriel Landeskog is out with what it is reported as concussion like symptoms. In another Avs surprise, Semyon Varlamov is expected to start his 9th game of the season. Backup J.S. Giguere has performed well against our Ducks since being traded to Toronto.
Were it enough that the Avs challenges ended there though. No. 1 D-man Erik Johnson has gone 7 games without a point. Six million dollar man Paul Stastney is minus-6. And if that weren’t enough, agitator Steve Downie is out for the season with a bum knee. And oh BTW, the PP is fumbling along at a dismal 9.4% efficiency rate. Winger David Jones and D-man Ryan Wilson are also out for the Avs.
Update: http://ducks.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=654493 is reporting that 20 goal scorer David Jones will be playing in tonight’s game.
If you get the sense that our Ducks are facing a wounded bear who some think are under-achieving, props for paying attention. The Avs are one challenged hockey club right now. Despite all that, these Avs are 4-5 on the season. They obviously aren’t rolling over for anyone.
Early season stat of note is former Sharks Jamie McGinn and Daniel Winnick are off to career years. Each is second in team scoring at 5 goals.
The red-hot Ducks arrive for the first game of their longest road trip of the season. It’s a game that team’s point to as important to get the trip off on to a good start. Even casual fans are aware that the first game often dictates what happens on a road trip.
This one is especially important for our Ducks because it’s arguably the first game of the season in which our 6-1-1 Ducks are expected to win. Winning when you’re expected to win is a crucial measuring stick that differentiates between the great, good and not so good.
Cam Fowler is still day-to-day.
It isn’t difficult to get up for a game against an undefeated team or the current Stanley Cup champion. But can you bring it against a team that is struggling?
CBS Sportsline reports that our Ducks are NHL’s second best team even strength. As this blog has continually noted the Ducks territorial advantage in play, is now reflected in the stats.
Oddsmakers aren’t buying into our Ducks. Today’s line opened Ducks +105 Avs -116. Meaning you get a premium if you bet our Ducks to win. Looks like a classic trap to me. What do they know that we’re missing?