After taking care of business at home with two straight victories to open the 2019-20 season, the Ducks bring their show on the road for a four-game trip beginning tonight in Motown. (4:30 p.m. PT, TV: Prime Ticket, Radio: AM 830). It's the battle of two undefeated teams, as the Ducks and Red Wings come in with 2-0 records. The Ducks and Wings are two of eight teams remaining with undefeated records through at least two games played, joining Carolina (3-0), Vegas (2-0), NY Rangers (2-0), Colorado (2-0), Edmonton (2-0) and Boston (2-0).
The Ducks come in with 22 consecutive penalty kills dating to the preseason, including a 5-for-5 mark in the regular season. Only five teams have a perfect PK% this season and only two of those clubs have more shorthanded opportunities (Vegas - 10; Vancouver - 6). They're also just one of three clubs to limit the opposition to two goals or less through the first two games, joining Boston (1 GA) and Vegas (2 GA). John Gibson was in goal for both wins, and brings a 1.00 goals-against average and .971 save percentage into tonight's contest. The 26-year-old netminder has stopped 67 of 69 shots in his two appearances this season.
"If we just continue to play the same way we're playing, it doesn't really matter if we're at home or on the road," said Ducks defenseman Brendan Guhle. "We can bring a lot of the same things [we did] at home. Pace and quickness. We can bring that on the road with us tonight. That'll be the key to getting a win in the first game of this four-game trip."
Anaheim will face a Red Wings team that boasts a top line that has combined for 16 points (8g/8a) over the first two games. Led by 25-year-old right wing Anthony Mantha (5g/2a), the trio, which includes Dylan Larkin (1g/3a) and Tyler Bertuzzi (2g/3a) has been an unstoppable force. Mantha scored all four goals in Detroit's 4-3 victory over the Dallas Stars two nights ago, including a natural hat trick and the go-ahead goal with just 53.3 seconds remaining in regulation. Mantha became the second player in Red Wings history to record four or more goals in the club's home opener, joining John Sorrell (4g) in 1933-34. The Longueuil, Quebec native also became the 23rd different player in team history to post a four-goal game and the first since Johan Franzen's five-goal performance on Feb. 2, 2011 at Ottawa.
"You know he's hot, but I don't think he's hot by chance or by luck," Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill said to reporters today. "I think he's hot because he's done the things that's going to make him successful. Do I expect him to keep this scoring pace up? No. They don't always go in like that, but he's hot because he's moved his feet. He's hot because he one-times pucks. I think he's hot because he's put the work in. For me, it's all about putting the work in."
This is the first of two games between the former playoff rivals this season. The Ducks are 28-47-12 all-time vs. the Red Wings, including a 7-28-8 mark in Detroit. They've won two of the last three meetings (2-1-0) and three of the last five (3-2-0). Ryan Getzlaf leads Anaheim skaters in career scoring vs. Detroit with 42 points (11g/31a) in 39 career games, including eight points (2g/6a) in his last eight. The two-game season series will conclude at Honda Center on Tuesday, Nov. 12.