The Anaheim Ducks will travel to the United Center in Chicago, Illinois to face the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday, March 29th at 8:30 PM ET in a showdown between the two best teams in the Western Conference. Currently, the Chicago Blackhawks lead the Anaheim Ducks in the standings by five points and will be looking to avenge a March 20th loss to the Ducks in Anaheim. A win on Friday night will give the Blackhawks a great shot at winning the Western Conference as there are just 15 games remaining on the schedule.
NHL odds makers have set the Chicago Blackhawks as -152 home favorites while the Anaheim Ducks are +138 underdogs. The total is set at 5.5 goals with the under being juiced at -126 and the over sitting at +114 odds.
In their most recent game, the Anaheim Ducks lost to the San Jose Sharks 4-0. The loss to San Jose was Anaheim’s fourth in a row. A lack of scoring has helped lead to this mini slump for the Ducks as Anaheim has scored just five goals in their last four games. During the loss to San Jose, Jonas Hiller was not particularly sharp, stopping just 25-of-29 shots. Anaheim put 22 shots on net, but Sharks goalie Antti Niemi stopped them all.
While the lack of scoring is cause for concern for the Ducks, the team should panic just yet. Anaheim is still fifth in the league in goals per game and fourth overall on the power play. Every team in the league has gone through some type of scoring drought this year, and it appears it is just Anaheim’s turn to go through theirs.
The Chicago Blackhawks are coming off a 2-0 victory over the Calgary Flames to stop their own two game losing streak. During the game against the Flames, goalie Ray Emery stopped all 16 shots he faced to earn his 12th victory of the season. Defensemen Brent Seabrook and Nick Leddy scored for the Blackhawks who put 35 shots on net against Calgary.
With both teams ranked in the top five in goals scored per game, Friday night’s contest should be a high scoring affair. The Ducks should bring their best effort against the Blackhawks as this is a measuring stick type game to gauge where they are at heading into the playoffs. Also, if Anaheim or Chicago notice their team is lacking a certain element on Friday night against another quality opponent, they could opt to turn to the trade market to see if they can improve their team before the April 3rd trade deadline.