Preview: Tough Ducks January Continues With Red Wings

The Anaheim Ducks continue a critical month of January on Wednesday night at Honda Center against a beleaguered Detroit Red Wings team. Although Detroit is coming off a gutsy come-from-behind win in the Centennial Classic, they’ve largely been a mediocre outfit since the start of the season, struggling to find any sort of consistency.

For the Ducks, a game against Detroit represents just one of the first steps in what will be a grueling January. They’ll essentially be playing every other night until the All-Star break, but things could be looking a lot brighter for them once they get to the other side of that gauntlet. Of Anaheim’s 13 remaining January games, nine will be against teams outside of the playoff picture. If there was ever an opportunity for an inconsistent Ducks team to find firm footing in the Pacific Division, this has to be it.

Detroit Red Wings at Anaheim Ducks

TV Broadcast Channels: FSDT, FSW

Radio Broadcast Channels: 830 KLAA

Detroit Red Wings: 16-16-5, 37 points

Road Record: 9-6-2

Hot Players: Anthony Mantha, Henrik Zetterberg

Key Injuries: Jimmy Howard, Mike Green, Johan Franzen, Justin Abdelkader, Darren Helm, Alexey Marchenko, Joe Vitale


Tomas Tatar-Henrik Zetterberg-Anthony Mantha

Gustav Nyquist-Frans Nielsen-Thomas Vanek

Riley Sheahan-Dylan Larkin-Luke Glendening

Drew Miller-Andreas Athanasiou-Steve Ott


Dan DeKeyser-Nick Jensen

Niklas Kronwall-Brendan Smith

Jonathan Ericsson-Xavier Ouellet


Jared Coreau (expected)

Anaheim Ducks: 19-12-8, 46 points

Home Record: 11-4-2

Hot Players: Ryan Kesler, Rickard Rakell

Key Injuries: Simon Despres (LTIR), Nate Thompson (LTIR), Clayton Stoner (upper body, 4-6 weeks)

Projected Lines:


Andrew Cogliano-Ryan Kesler-Jakob Silfverberg

Joseph Cramarossa-Rickard Rakell-Corey Perry

Nick Ritchie-Antoine Vermette-Ondrej Kase

Logan Shaw-Chris Wagner-Jared Boll


Cam Fowler-Sami Vatanen

Hampus Lindholm-Josh Manson

Korbinian Holzer-Kevin Bieksa


John Gibson (expected)

Game Notes

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]1)[/miptheme_dropcap] Anaheim will hit the ice without captain Ryan Getzlaf , who sustained a lower-body injury against Philadelphia on Sunday. The captain hasn’t quite been himself this season. His goal-scoring has continued to crater, though more concerning is the direction his even strength game has gone. Once a dominant player at five-on-five, Getzlaf is quickly fading in that category as well.

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]2)[/miptheme_dropcap] In a recent piece, Dimitri Filipovic revealed that the best teams in the National Hockey League rarely play from behind. Though that may seem obvious, it also revealed that playing in a lot of one-goal games probably isn’t a great sign for any team. The elite clubs tend to put games away early, something that Anaheim has struggled to do this season.

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]3)[/miptheme_dropcap] Sure, the Wings are banged up, with the likes of Mike Green, Justin Abdelkader and Johan Franzen sidelined. However, head coach Jeff Blashilll may be overthinking his power play’s struggles. It was reported on Monday that Steve Ott, of all people, will see time on the man advantage. Ott’s made a career for himself as an agitator, but in his own words, “I’m not the answer by any means.” His 14 goals in the past four seasons would probably agree.

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[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]4)[/miptheme_dropcap] Andreas Athanasiou is objectively a pretty darn good hockey player. Saddled with bizarre fourth line minutes, he’s still near the top of his team in both goals per 60 minutes and assists per 60 minutes. Blashill believes he needs some more of that mystical compete level to his game, and though there might be some truth to that (lackluster shot attempt differentials), it feels as if he’s needlessly strong-arming a very talented player.

Yes, they managed to escape with a win in their last game, but Anaheim was embarrassed in the process. They allowed a season-high 52 shots thanks to some dysfunctional defensive play. Carlyle certainly took notice of that, as he tore into his team during Monday’s practice. He was hired for his tough love approach, and he’s certainly delivering in that regard.

The Ducks are on shaky ground in the Pacific, so it remains to be seen whether Carlyle’s old-school approach is actually working. Wednesday night’s game against a mediocre opponent will be a pretty good litmus test.