Hawks prepare for Anaheim Ducks

As the Hawks continue the circus trip perhaps their greatest measuring stick will be in their final two games in California. The first challenge up is the Anaheim Ducks. The Ducks sit atop the Western Conference in points and first in the Pacific division with a 14-4-5 record. The Hawks are coming in seventh in the Western Conference and third in their division with a record of 13-8-1.

Statistically however the Hawks and Ducks are pretty close in just about everything. In fact the Hawks are ahead of Anaheim in goals per game and goals against per game. Their special teams is also statistically better than the Ducks on both the power play side and the penalty kill side. Yet it is the Ducks that everyone is chasing in the west.

The Ducks are also currently riding high on a three game winning streak over their Pacific Division rivals in Calgary, Arizona and San Jose only the San Jose win was away from the Honda Center. All of the games were decided by one goal.

The Hawks are coming in after a bounce back game against the Colorado Avalanche and are beginning to find their game. The last time the Hawks faced the Ducks it was one mistake on the Hawks power play that decided the game when Devante Smith-Pelly ended up scoring a shorthanded goal. The difference this time, the offense then was struggling to score goals a problem the Hawks are hoping they have solved.

Look for a tight defensive struggle and again it could come down to one mistake or one bad bounce that determines this one too. The Hawks will need to bring their A++ defensive team game to this party. Also Antti Raanta will either be starting this game or the next in Los Angeles as Corey Crawford has played eleven games straight due to Raanta coming down ill.

The leading point getters for the Ducks are the usual suspects, Ryan Getzlaf, Sami Vatanen, Corey Perry and Ryan Kesler. The Hawks leading point generators are Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa and Kris Versteeg. Patrick Kane has heated up since being lined up with Versteeg and Brad Richards. Look for that line to battle against the Kesler line should be an interesting matchup.

The Hawks will need to get traffic to the net which was missing in their first bout with the Ducks maybe multiple bodies to the net since the Ducks are physically a larger team. If they can get to the net it should serve them well regardless who is in the nets for Anaheim.

 

INJURY REPORT

Patrick Sharp remains on LTIR and will remain out for the balance of the games on the circus trip

Trevor Van Riemsdyk is on LTIR and out still recovering from surgery on his left patella that was fractured

Francois Beauchemin is likely out with an upper body injury.

Where to watch: WGN, NHLN-US,SN or listen on  WGN radio 720 in chicago