Pittsburgh Penguins (24-13-16, 54 points) vs. Anaheim Ducks (19-17-8, 46 points)
Friday, January 11 at 10:00 PM ET
By Jackalyn Harley
The Anaheim Ducks are suiting up to face the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight on home ice. The Ducks are looking to break a nine-game losing streak after a discouraging 2-1 overtime loss against the Ottawa Senators. Ironically, their last win was against the Penguins on December 17th. The biggest asset to the team right now is undoubtedly netminder Josh Gibson. Gibson is keeping the team from absolute destruction at this point. After being riddled with injuries this season, the team can look forward to Rickard Rakell slotting back in after missing the first contest against the Pens this season.
Adding him back to the mix with Ryan Getzlaf, who tallied one goal and one assist in the last meeting, could help shift the Duck's energy. Forward Ryan Kesler has been underwhelming, to say the least. This team needs to wake up find their feet, or rather their wings, and start playing a full 60 minutes. Only engaging for the third period is not going to cut it against the Pens. The Ducks power play is floundering, sitting at 28th in the league (14.5%). Couple that with their tendency to land in the box lately, and the fact that they're currently last in the league in shots (28.0-31st), and the Ducks seem to have an uphill battle ahead of them.
On the other end of the ice, the Pittsburgh Penguins are kicking off a five-game road trip with this matchup. They're coming off a 5-1 victory after hosting the Florida Panthers on Tuesday. Pittsburgh is coming in on a hot streak, going 9-1-0 in their last ten games. Pucks have been finding their way to the back of the net, and not just from the Penguins top line. All four lines are engaging, and the club has been thriving with the scoring depth.
If the Ducks can't find a way to avoid taking penalties, the Pens power play can be stifling, currently ranking sixth overall across the NHL. Goaltender Matt Murray has been solid between the pipes since his return, and he boasts a .948 save percentage on the road. The Penguins have been playing a tight game, and they're looking to continue riding the wave of momentum they've got going.
My choice: Pens will take this one.
NHL Pick: Penguins -125 at Jazz Sports
Check odds here: http://bit.ly/2RMxhhA