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Game 1: Arizona Visits Anaheim
By Michael Walters
Arizona(0-0-0) at Anaheim(0-0-0)
Pregame Show: DucksNPucks Podcast
TV: 7:00 PM PT/10:00 PM ET, Fox Sports West
Radio: KLAA AM 830
Post Game Show: Duck Calls with Josh Brewster AM 830
*Note: This game preview is updated throughout the day, so check back periodically for updates.
The Anaheim Ducks went 4-1-1 in the preseason, winning the last three games and will look to carry the momentum into the season opener.
Anaheim had a rough go of it last season and will look for a better outcome this year. They are led by their new head coach Dallas Eakins, who has gained the team’s respect already as he visited with several players during the offseason.
The change has been made behind the bench, but will it change the outcome on the ice is the question this season. The Ducks were last or towards the bottom of the league in many categories(shots for and shots against, special teams, etc.) last year. The Ducks weren’t getting enough shots on net and the defense wasn’t helping out their goalies enough. All that has to change if the Ducks want to have a rebound season.
Brayden Tracey has an upper-body injury and is still in Anaheim according to the Moose Jaw Warriors. His status is week-to-week.
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The Arizona Coyotes had a decent season last year. They ended up in fourth place in the Pacific Division with 86 points and missed a wild card spot by four points.
The Coyotes have a young group of players like the Ducks, which should make them fun to watch this season. They did add Stanley Cup Champion Phil “The Thrill” Kessel in the offseason, who will help this team make a push for the playoffs with his veteran presence.
Arizona also signed Darcy Kuemper to a two-year extension. He was 27-20-8, with a GAA of 2.33 and .925 SV% last season. He will be the starter tonight and on most nights as Antti Raanta is on a conditioning loan in Tuscan. Arizona was at the bottom of the league in scoring and power-play percentage last year, which they will need to improve in for better success this season.
Antti Raanta suffered a lower-body injury during the preseason and will be rehabbing in Tuscon. The timetable for his return is unknown.
Projected Lineup (Optional Skate – No Line Rushes)
Clayton Keller – Derek Stepan – Phil Kessel
Nick Schmaltz – Carl Soderberg – Conor Garland
Michael Grabner – Brad Richardson – Vinnie Hinostroza
Lawson Crouse – Christian Dvorak – Christian Fischer
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October 3rd, 2019