By Kyle Shohara
The Ducks are in Hockeytown to take on the Detroit Red Wings tonight at Joe Louis Arena in Game 2 of the club’s season-opening four-game road trip (4 p.m. PT, Prime Ticket, AM 830).
Anaheim enters the contest 0-1 after dropping its season opener by a 6-4 score on Thursday at Pittsburgh, despite a hat trick from forward Corey Perry. The hat trick was the sixth of his career, the 44th in franchise history and the first to occur in a season opener in franchise history. Offseason acquisition Ryan Kesler had a goal and two assists in his regular season debut.
Though no longer Western Conference rivals, the Ducks and Red Wings have a storied 20-year history. Tonight is just the third time the Ducks face the Red Wings as an Eastern Conference opponent after 75 games within the West. The head-to-head matchup has not been kind to the Ducks, who are just 22-43-12 all-time vs. Detroit, including a 5-25-8 mark at Joe Louis Arena.
However, the Ducks went 2-0-0 vs. the Red Wings last season, marking their first series sweep over their former conference foe.
After rookie netminder John Gibson got the start in front of friends and family Thursday at Pittsburgh, expect Frederik Andersen to get the nod tonight. The 25-year-old native of Herning, Denmark made his NHL debut with Anaheim last season, posting a 20-5-0 record with a 2.29 goals-against average and .923 save percentage in 28 games. Andersen, who goes by many nicknames, including “Big Red,” ranked tied for 10th among NHL goaltenders in goals-against average and tied for eighth in save percentage in 2013-14. Andersen led rookie netminders in wins, GAA and SV%, and posted the best SV% and GAA for a rookie goalie since 2010-11 (Cory Schneider: 2.23 GAA, .929 SV%). The 6-foot-3, 236-pound ‘tender also made his Stanley Cup Playoffs debut last April, posting a 3-2 record with a 3.10 GAA and .899 SV%. He became the youngest goaltender in Ducks history to appear in a postseason game at 24 years and 196 days, third rookie goaltender in club history to play in a playoff game (Tom Askey, 1999; Ilya Bryzgalov, 2006) and the first rookie goaltender to win his playoff debut in Game 1 of the First Round, April 16 vs. Dallas.
Tonight will mark the NHL debut for young center William Karlsson. The 21-year-old Swede impressed during training camp and preseason, and skated on a line with Andrew Cogliano and Jakob Silfverberg during the morning skate. Karlsson ranked tied for first on the Ducks in preseason scoring, with three points (all assists). Karlsson made his pro debut with Norfolk (American Hockey League) last season, collecting nine points (2g/7a) with a +5 rating and six penalty minutes in nine games. Prior to joining the Admirals, Karlsson played for HV 71 of the Swedish Hockey League, scoring 37 points (15g/22a) with a +1 rating and 14 penalty minutes. Karlsson led his team in scoring, assists and appearances, and co-led in goals.
ON THE OTHER SIDE
The Red Wings won their season opener against Boston on Thursday night, holding the Bruins to 17 shots in a 2-1 victory. Justin Abdelkader and Gustav Nyquist got the goals for Detroit, and Johan Franzen earned assists on both. Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk remains out of the lineup with a shoulder injury, and is not expected to play.
Tonight is also the Red Wings’ 8th Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Night and the team is encouraging all fans attending tonight’s game to wear pink. Fans will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of activities to win prizes while raising funds to help alleviate the costs of breast cancer screening and treatment for uninsured and underinsured women in the Metro Detroit area. The arena concourse will feature a silent auction, mystery puck draw, 50/50 raffle and a special sale of Red Wings winter knit hats, with all proceeds benefiting the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute. More information can be found here.
ALL 30 IN ACTION
For just the sixth time in NHL history, all 30 teams will be in action on the same day. The NHL will also close out its 2014-15 regular season on Saturday, April 11 with 15 games (Ducks play at Arizona). The five prior instances occurred on Oct. 5, 2005 (first day of regular season), Oct. 25, 2008, Oct. 3, 2009, Oct. 24, 2009 and April 7, 2012 (last day of regular season). The Ducks are 2-3-0 in those games.
MILESTONES WITHIN REACH:
Francois Beauchemin - 4 points to 200 NHL points
Andrew Cogliano - 9 points to 100 points as a Duck
Cam Fowler - 6 assists to 100 NHL assists
Ryan Kesler - 4 points to 400 NHL points
Nate Thompson - 8 appearances to 400 NHL games