Once again, the Bruins proved me wrong in my prediction, as they fell 6-5 in Detroit in yesterday’s Game of the Day.
Although they took the loss, Boston did set a positive franchise record, as Brad Marchand’s goal only eight seconds into the game, his 28th of the season, is the fastest-ever Bruins goal. He was assisted by Brett Connolly. Detroit leveled the game only 2:36 later with a Henrik Zetterberg backhander, his 11th tally of the season, assisted by Justin Abdelkader and Danny DeKeyser. Again, Boston quickly broke the tie, when Zach Trotman scored his second of the season at the 2:58 mark with a slap shot. Goal scoring subsided for a little while before the Bruins set the score at 3-1 with a Loui Eriksson tip-in, his 19th tally of the season, assisted by David Krejci and Jimmy Hayes. The Wings got a goal back 1:47 later on the power play, scored by Pavel Datsyuk, assisted by Abdelkader (his 17th helper of the season) and Brad Richards. The 3-2 Boston lead held into the intermission.
The Wings leveled the score only 3:13 into the second period with a goal from Darren Helm, assisted by Xavier Ouellet and Alexey Marchenko. They followed that up with another goal only 3:25 later, courtesy of Datsyuk, who was assisted by Richards and Zetterberg (his 29th helper of the season). The Wings‘ lead expanded to two with another goal from Helm, assisted by Marchenko and Kyle Quincey. The Bruins got one back with Dennis Seidenberg’s first goal of the season at the 11:23 mark, assisted by Ryan Spooner (his 29th helper of the season). The 5-4 Red Wings lead held into the second intermission.
Boston leveled the game only 38 seconds into the final period with a score from Joonas Kemppainen, assisted by Marchand and Krejci (his 31st helper of the season), but Detroit earned the last laugh with a deflection goal from Zetterberg, assisted by DeKeyser and Datsyuk (his 22nd helper of the season).
Petr Mrazek earns the win by saving 17 of 22 (77.3%), while Jonas Gustavsson, who replaced Tuukka Rask after he gave up the fifth goal (19 for 24, 79.2%), takes the loss after saving 10 of 11 (90.9%).
The Game of the Day series now stands at 55-27-11, favoring the home squad by 36 points over the roadies.
Happy Presidents’ and Grammys Day! In honor of both of these “holidays,” we’ll try to keep the theme going in the schedule run-down. The first game of the day is between the Motown Red Wings and the “New York State of Mind” Islanders at 1 p.m. eastern (NHLN), followed by Marcus Mumford’s Anaheim Ducks at “(Marie’s the Name) His Latest” Calgary Flames three hours later. 7:30 p.m. eastern brings with it the beginning of the “Black and Yellow” Pittsburgh Penguins and the “Pocketful of Sunrise“ Panthers (yeah, I know, just work with me), followed half an hour later by Switchfoot’s Dallas Stars at the “Crazy Town” Predators. Drake’s Toronto Maple Leafs are “Goin’ to (the) Chicago” Blackhawks at 8:30 p.m. eastern (NHLN), and the Canadiens are almost “A Million Miles from Montréal,” visiting the Arizona Coyotes. The “Born to be” Minnesota Wild getting ready for a “Vancouver Shakedown” against the Canucks represents tonight’s nightcap at 10 p.m. eastern.
Only two of today’s seven games are between divisional rivals (Anaheim at Calgary and Dallas at Nashville), while another set of two are between teams currently qualifying for the playoffs (Detroit at New York and Dallas at Nashville).
While I’d usually go with the Dallas–Nashville game, especially since they’re slated to meet each other in the first round, but we’re already committed to the Grammys spiel. Because of that, and since Kendrick Lamar, the most nominated artist, is from Compton, Calif., we’ll go with the team he was born closest to (that’s playing today, the Kings are technically closer…): the Anaheim Ducks.
Today’s game will be Anaheim‘s sixth in the Game of the Day series, where they currently own a 2-1-2 record. Their most recent featured game was Saturday’s game in Chicago, a 3-2 overtime victory. The only other time Calgary was featured was featured was their trip to Madison Square Garden on October 25, where they lost 4-1.
The 27-19-8 Anaheim Ducks currently occupy third in the Pacific Division and sixth in the Western Conference. They have gotten themselves into playoff position with the second-best defense in the league, which has been more than necessary to cover for the worst offense in the NHL. A more in-depth analysis of Anaheim‘s game can be found within Saturday’s post.
As the Ducks were off yesterday, their most recent game was Saturday’s 3-2 overtime victory in Chicago. A win in today’s game pushes Anaheim past San Jose and back into second place in the division by a point.
The 25-26-3 Calgary Flames currently sit in sixth in the Pacific Division and 12th, or third worst, in the Western Conference. The main reason they are in that position is because of their fifth-worst defense, as the offense actually ranks 15th-best.
The Flames, led by John Gaudreau’s 143 shots, have fired only 1555 shots, of which 9.3% have found the back of the net for 144 goals (led by Gaudreau’s 21 tallies), 15th best in the league. That could actually be better if it wasn’t for the power play, which is second worst. Calgary has only optimized on 14.86% of opportunities for only 26 extra-man goals (led by Mark Giordano’s five power play tallies), seven fewer than the league average.
The problems for Calgary have been on the other end. Thanks in part to Kris Russell’s team-leading 174 blocks, only 1572 shots have made their way to the injured 17-18-1 Karri Ramo and co., of which they’ve collectively saved only 90.3% for 160 goals against, fifth-most in the league. While it is not completely the problem, part of the issue has been the Flames‘ penalty kill which, just like the power play, ranks second-worst in the league. The Flames have neutralized only 75% of opposing power plays for 35 extra-man goals against.
Calgary‘s most recent game was a 4-1 loss in Arizona on Friday. Should Calgary win today, they will move only a point behind 11th place in the Western Conference, and six points behind the second wildcard position.
Today’s game will be the third in the season series, which Anaheim currently leads 2-0-0. Their most recent meeting was way back on December 29 in this building, where the Ducks won 1-0.
This game is also special in the sense that it is a rematch of one of last season’s Western Conference Semifinals, which the Ducks ultimately won in five games before falling to the Blackhawks in the conference finals.
Some players to keep an eye on include Anaheim‘s Ryan Getzlaf (36 assists [tied for seventh-most in the league]) and John Gibson (four shutouts [tied for fourth-best in the league] and 2.11 GAA [fifth-best in the league]) & Calgary‘s T.J. Brodie (+15 and two short-handed assists [both lead the team]) and Gaudreau (30 assists, nine of which were on a power play, and 21 goals, 18 of which were at even-strength and six were game-winners, for 51 points on 143 shots [all lead the team]).
Anaheim has been in control of this series of late, and I don’t expect anything to change now. As long as Anaheim‘s defense continues to play lights-out like they have been all season, they should be all set for two points.