Carolina (10-14-4) at Anaheim (11-12-5)
When: Friday, December 11th 2015
Where: Honda Center, Anaheim, CA
Time: 10:05 ET | TV: FSN San Diego
The Carolina Hurricanes continue their 4-game road trip when the visit the Anaheim Ducks on Friday night. Carolina erased a 5-1 deficit on Tuesday at Dallas, only to lose 6-5. That marks the second straight game the Hurricanes have scored five goals. Unfortunately, they’ve allowed 10 themselves. Goalie Cam Ward (9-8-3, 2.73 GAA, .893 SV%) has allowed three or more goals in five of his last seven games including four each in the last two. Defenseman Justin Faulk leads Carolina with 11 goals and 21 points after scoring twice Tuesday and once in a 5-4 victory over Arizona on Sunday. Captain Eric Staal, who has 5 goals and 12 assists, has a goal and two assists in his last two games after recording two assists in his previous nine games. Carolina has scored a power-play goal in each of its last three games (4-for-11) after going five straight games without one (0-for-13). The Hurricanes allow the least amount of shots per game, but are 28th in scoring defense at 3.1 goals a game. Carolina is a long way from playoff contention, but if Ward can get back to form and they keep scoring like they’ve been, maybe a run is a possibility.
Anaheim is also on the outside looking in at the playoffs, but they have the team that can make a serious run. They’ve won two in a row and three of four and will play the final game of their 6-game homestand tonight. Anaheim, which won four straight to begin November, stabilized its goaltending situation as John Gibson is 4-2-1 with a 1.47 goals-against average and .944 save percentage. He’s expected to make his seventh straight start since being recalled from San Diego of the American Hockey League. Gibson was the NHL First Star of the Week after recording shutouts in two of his last four games while allowing three goals total in the other two games. Corey Perry has three goals in his last four games and his team-leading 10 goals have all come in the last 17 games. Captain Ryan Getzlaf has only one goal this season, but does have a team-high 17 assists, including 11 in the last nine games. The Ducks have the best penalty-killing unit in the league right now at 87.8%, but are just 21st on the power-play at 17.5%. Once the Ducks get their scoring touch back, they’ll be dangerous.
I’m going to go with the hot goaltender in this one. Ward has been struggling for Carolina and this could be exactly what Anaheim needs to get their scoring confidence back.
Pick: Ducks -1.5 +155