On the last night of January, the Ducks will host the Tampa Bay Lightning in Anaheim. Flooded with emotion after making a tribute to the late Kobe Bryant, the Ducks beat Arizona in their last game. The Lightning are also coming off a win over the Kings.
Up And Down
The Lightning enter this game with a 30-15-5 record as they sit in second place in the Atlantic Division, five points behind the Boston Bruins. They have not been able to string together many wins yet this season, and they are 3-2 over their last five games.
Tampa Bay is averaging 3.58 goals per game while allowing 2.84. After finishing with the most regular-season wins last season, the Lightning are not on pace to reach that mark this year.
Last year ended with an 0-4 playoff record, which Tampa Bay will look to avoid this season. The Lightning are a threat for the playoffs this season, especially if they can start getting some consistency in the win column.
Andrei Vasilevskiy will get the start between the pipes for the Lightning in this one. He is 25-9-3 this season with a 2.53 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage. The 25-year-old has been solid for the Lightning this season and made the trip to St. Louis for All-Star weekend.
Once again, Nikita Kucherov has led the way for Tampa Bay this year in almost every category. His 22 goals, 36 assists, and 58 total points all pace the Lightning so far this season.
The Ducks are currently 20-25-5 this season. They are still trying to find their identity this year as they are sitting in 7th place in the Pacific Division with just 45 points.
Anaheim is averaging 2.48 goals per game this season while allowing 3.10. The Ducks are on the outside looking in for any playoff spot as we have reached the halfway point in the season. Look for them to continue finding prospects to build their future around as we approach the trade deadline.
Veteran Ryan Getzlaf is leading the Ducks this season with 33 points and 22 assists; he has also tallied 11 goals so far this year. The Ducks’ leading goal scorer has been their other center, Adam Henrique, with 17. The 29-year-old also has 10 assists, giving him 27 total points.
Starting goaltender John Gibson will be getting the start Friday night against the Lightning at home. He holds a 15-20-3 record this season with a 2.96 goals-against average and a .905 save percentage.
Something to watch out for in this game is the Ducks’ penalty kill. While the Lighting have the fourth-best power-play percentage in the NHL, the Ducks have the second-most short-handed goals with nine already this season. If the Ducks can flip the script on a Lightning power play in this game, it could shift momentum in their favor at home.
What To Expect
While the Ducks are at home in this one, I still expect the Lightning to come away with their second road win in California Friday night. There are a few things in Anaheim’s favor that could keep this game close, but in the end, I like Tampa Bay to win before heading to San Jose.