NHL Game Preview - Ducks v Panthers

 
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4
Final 1 2 3 OT Tot
Anaheim 1 3 0 0 4
Florida 0 2 2 1 5
5
4:00 PM PT5:00 PM MT6:00 PM CT7:00 PM ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 PM MST7:00 PM EST4:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ET22:00 BRT, November 21, 2019
BB&T Center, Sunrise, Florida  Attendance: 11,316

Panthers push to keep streak alive at home vs. Ducks

Anaheim Ducks at Florida Panthers

  1. The Ducks have won their last three games against the Panthers, all by a 3-2 score line and all in regulation. In the last two games, Anaheim has scored the game-winning goal within the last five minutes of the third period.
  2. The Ducks fell to the Capitals, 5-2, in Washington on Monday, their sixth loss in their last seven games (1-4-2). Anaheim has allowed 4.0 goals per game over the past seven games after allowing 2.4 goals per game in its first 15 games (9-6-0).
  3. The Panthers defeated the Flyers, 5-2, at home on Tuesday. Florida has scored at least three goals in every home game this season (nine games), one of two teams in the NHL which has done so (Minnesota; seven games).
  4. Sam Steel scored his first goal (ninth point) of the season in the loss to the Capitals. Anaheim is 2-5-1 in games when Steel has a point this season compared to 5-3-1 last season.
  5. Brett Connolly has four points (2g, 2a) in his last three games, all at home. He has nine of his 15 points this season in nine home skates with at least a point in eight of the nine. That is tied for the most home games with a point on the team this season (Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov).
  6. Florida has earned 27 points through 21 games this season, tied for its third-highest point total through 21 games of a season all-time. The Panthers made the playoffs in each of the three previous seasons in which they had 27 or more points through 21 games (2011-12, 1996-17 and 1995-96).

The Anaheim Ducks, who have lost six of their past seven games are set to face the red-hot Florida Panthers on Thursday night in Sunrise, Fla.

"We're a team in transition," Ducks coach Dallas Eakins said, explaining Anaheim's recent rough patch, which includes four losses in regulation over a seven-game stretch and a 4-6-0 road record.

The Panthers are also a team in transition -- but in a more positive way. After not making the playoffs for the past three years, the Panthers brought in Joel Quenneville, who won three Stanley Cup titles as the coach of the Chicago Blackhawks.

Quenneville has the Panthers on a 4-1-0 run in their past five games, including Tuesday night's 5-2 home win over the Philadelphia Flyers during which five different Florida players scored goals.

"All four lines are capable of making plays and scoring," Quenneville said. "We feel we have balance in our lineup. No matter what line you're on, we expect you to create offense and zone time."

But even with that balance, the Panthers, on most nights, get most of their scoring from their top line of center/captain Aleksander Barkov and wingers Jonathan Huberdeau and Evgenii Dadonov.

Huberdeau leads the team in points (28) and is tied for the team lead with Dadonov in goals (10). Barkov leads the team in assists (20) and has seven goals.

Defensively, the Panthers have held their past two opponents -- the New York Rangers and the Flyers -- scoreless in the third period, and much of the credit has gone to goalie Sergei Bobrovsky.

"'Bob' was unreal in the net for us," Barkov said of Bobrovsky following the win over the Flyers. "We let the Flyers shoot from the outside and cleared the rebounds."

The Panthers, who are 5-2-2 at home this season, are also a healthy team right now, with only fourth-line winger Jayce Hawryluk on the injured list.

Thursday will close Florida's four-game homestand, and a victory would give the Panthers a 3-1-0 record during that stretch.

The Ducks, meanwhile, are at the start of a rebuilding effort. Before missing the playoffs last season, they had qualified six straight years, making the Western Conference Finals twice during that span.

To direct their current rebuild, Ducks general manager Bob Murray hired Eakins, a 52-year-old native Floridian who had previously served as coach of the Edmonton Oilers.

Eakins, a defenseman in his younger days, became just the second native Floridian to play in the NHL and the first to do so for the Panthers.

With the Ducks, Eakins inherited a group that was last in the NHL last season in goals scored with 199. Winger Jakob Silfverberg, who led the team with 24 goals last season, is once again atop the Ducks' list with nine tallies.

Captain/center Ryan Getzlaf, who led the Ducks with 48 points last season, is once again on the top line. He has 15 points, tied with winger Rickard Rakell for second place on the team, just behind Silfverberg (17).

Goaltending is an Anaheim strength with veterans John Gibson, 26, and backup Ryan Miller, 39. Gibson is 7-10-0 with a 2.90 goals-against average. Miller is 3-0-2 with a 2.61 GAA.

Overall, the Ducks want to get younger and faster, but that transition -- as Eakins has indicated -- can be a slow process.

Like the Panthers, the Ducks are mostly healthy. Only defenseman Josh Manson (lower body) is on the injured list.

--Field Level Media

Updated November 20, 2019

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