Edmonton Oilers vs Pittsburgh Penguins
Not an exciting night in terms of games for the NHL tonight. Only two on and this is one of them. Pittsburgh at home this year are 15-10-2, they are 4-5-1 in their last ten but coming off a big win vs the Flyers two nights ago. The Oilers on the other hand are 12-11-4 on the road, 3-5-2 in their last ten coming off a loss to San Jose. The Oilers have not played since Saturday night, as the Penguins last game came Monday. The Oilers should be well-rested and prepared for this game. The Penguins go with Matt Murray who is essentially impossible to get a read on this season. He played unbelievable vs the Flyers Monday but who knows what he can do tonight. Murray is 2-3 in his last five starts allowing 15 goals over that span. The Oilers go with Mikko Koskinen who has been very subpar since his signing. Koskinen is 1-3-1 in his last five starts allowing 17 goals in that span, he has allowed 3+ in four of these five starts. The Penguins are currently one point ahead of the Hurricanes for the final wild card spot and have no time to waste right now with the way the Hurricanes are playing. They need these two points desperately. We will see what they can do after a big win and no Evgeni Malkin tonight. Going Penguins.
Vancouver Canucks vs Anaheim Ducks
This is a rough match up. The Ducks are still spiraling out of control it feels like, they have their GM as their new head coach, they can barely score goals and things are not looking good. Chad Johnson is a probable in net for tonight as John Gibson either is hurt or has given up on the Ducks. Johnson is 2-11-0 on the year with a 3.63 GAA but is 0-5 in his last five starts allowing 15 goals in that span. The Ducks are on a seven-game skid and 2-8-0 in their last ten but 10-8 at home. The Canucks are 12-14-4 on the road, 4-4-2 in their last ten and coming off a loss vs San Jose. The Canucks are currently two points out of a playoff spot right now. They are a hopeful team just playing the season and taking whatever comes their way. They are a very young, competitive team that can sneak into the post season and a win tonight helps those chances. The Canucks go with Jacob Markstrom (probable), who is 2-2-1 in his last five starts allowing 13 goals in that span. I like the Canucks tonight but something tells me that with Bob Murray behind the bench for his first game, the Ducks pull this one out and end their skid. Going Ducks.
The Anaheim Ducks continue to circulate the media world for all the wrong reasons though. If this is new to you the Ducks have been one of the worst teams in hockey the last two months.
Anaheim’s Last 21 Games…
Th Ducks have won just two games since December 18th 2018, went on a 12-game losing streak December 18th to January 15th after winning back to back games and their only two wins in the last 2 months. They are on a current 7-game losing streak and being out scored drastically in this 7-game span. The Ducks have scored 8 goals in seven games while allowing 37 goals against in seven games. Looking at the bigger picture of the Ducks 21-game disaster they have allowed 82 goals against, while scoring 34 goals for. The Ducks have been shutout five times, average 1.62 goals for per game over the last 21 games, 3.9 goals against per game. In this 21-game span they have a record of 2-15-4 a -48 goal differential, -105 shot difference, 12.7 percent power play and 78.9 penalty kill.
Clearly things have not been well in Anaheim and their small pre-All Star break/deadline moves did not do anything. It was inevitable that the Ducks were going to can Randy Carlyle, a head coach of his stature, Stanley Cup experience (winning one with Anaheim) etc. not getting the job done the end decision was firing him before the season ended. We are all surprised he lasted this long though, either way we all knew he was going to get fired. Stuff has been sh*tty to be blunt. I don’t think anyone expected the Ducks to have their GM Bob Murray step in and be the head coach though. Murray has no NHL coaching experience and this will be the first time we will see a GM behind the bench and making executive decisions at the same time.
Murray Feels It Is Necessary To Be Behind The Bench
In a recent article on NHL.com with Mike Zeisberger, Murray addressed a lot of concerns fans have. He said he feels as if this is the best way to figure out what is going on and get to the bottom of the problems right now. He agrees that he should be “in the trenches” with the team during this rough patch. He also said he does not think it is fair to bring someone at this point in the season and how rough it is in Anaheim right now.
Captain Ryan Getzlaf said he understands why Murray is coming to coach and supports his decision fully. He believes it may be beneficial to see what the locker room is like and hopefully give them a spark.
The Ducks play the Vancouver Canucks Wednesday night. Murray will have two and a half days to fully prepare for what his first day behind the bench will look like. Wednesday night vs Vancouver could end the Ducks dry spell, we have seen new coaches come in and be successful their first game and following weeks after it. (Ken Hitchcock in Edmonton, Doug Weight in New York) I would not be surprised to see a Ducks win Wednesday night. Things cannot get much worse for Anaheim than having tickets being sold for as low as $17 and fans wearing brown bags to games.