Yeah, the Red Wings don’t play in the Western Conference anymore, but there’s still some juice when the Ducks and Wings get together. For longtime fans, this matchup is a reminder of a wide range of emotions, from soul-crushing lows to the spirited highs.
The Wings served as a “final boss” of sorts for the Ducks throughout their history – they swept the Ducks out of the playoffs in the 1996-97 and 98-99 seasons and beat the Ducks in two awesome series in 2008-09 and a seven-game series in 2012-13. However, the two times the Ducks got the better of their Motown foes, it resulted in trips to the Stanley Cup Finals, including the club’s only Stanley Cup victory in 2006-07.
While nobody really thinks the Ducks (or the Red Wings for that matter) will be vying for Lord Stanley’s Cup this season, who thought they’d be meeting this Tuesday night as undefeated teams?
Game Preview: Anaheim Ducks vs. Detroit Red Wings – 10/8/19
The Ducks have taken care of business so far this season, scoring victories against a pair of Pacific Division rivals – the Arizona Coyotes and San Jose Sharks. The club looks rejuvenated under new head man Dallas Eakins, and John Gibson is playing like a man possessed this season, sporting a .971% save percentage (third in the league behind Jaro Halak and Thomas Greiss) and a 1.00 goals-against average (second only to Halak) in the early part of the campaign. Ondrej Kase looks fantastic as he continues to develop into a top-line forward. While he hasn’t found the back of the net this season, that could change against the Red Wings on Tuesday night.
Detroit has much to be proud of as well – and Ducks fans should be thankful! Detroit vanquished other Ducks nemesis Nashville in their season opener and recently defeated the Dallas Stars in a thriller to find themselves at 2-0. While they’ve given up more goals than the Ducks, they’ve scored more. The Wings are led by forward Anthony Mantha, who scored 4 goals against Dallas, with 5 total on the season.
The tender duo of longtime Red Wing Jimmy Howard and former Duck scapegoat Jonathan Bernier both won their starts, but haven’t looked as impressive as Gibson has in his starts. If the Ducks have a surefire advantage anywhere, it’s between the pipes.
The Ducks will definitely have their hands full with a young Detroit club, but they have the tools to escape the Motor City with a W. This has the makings of a confidence-boosting win for the Ducks, especially if John Gibson continues to prove he’s a top goaltender in the league with another stellar showing.
Can the Ducks figure out a way to shut down the Wings red-hot young core and keep their undefeated streak alive?