Finally, the wait is over.
Tonight, the Ducks will open their 2017-18 regular season when they host the visiting Arizona Coyotes at Honda Center. The puck drops shortly after 7:05 p.m. PT and will be televised on Prime Ticket and broadcast on AM 830.
It's been eight years since the Ducks have hosted a regular-season opener at home - Oct. 3, 2009 vs. the San Jose Sharks, to be exact (4-1 loss). This will be the fifth regular-season opener at home in franchise history and the longest season-opening homestand (four games) since 1993-94 when they began their inaugural NHL campaign with five in a row.
"This is kind of unusual for us, but at the same time it could be a good thing," said Ducks veteran right wing Corey Perry, on the rare season-opening homestand. "You have to get a couple of wins early on and use that to your advantage. It's going to be energized. The fans here have always been great, especially for a home opener. It's a start to a new season. We're getting excited, and so are they."
There will be new faces in the lineup tonight for the Ducks, who will not have key players Ryan Kesler, Hampus Lindholm and Sami Vatanen for the near future. All three are coming off surgeries in the offseason. If that wasn't enough, they will also be without one of their best goal scorers and their new backup goaltender. Patrick Eaves missed the entire preseason with a lower-body injury and only took part in a few days of training camp, while Ryan Miller continues to deal with an upper-body injury, though he appeared in parts of two preseason games and has been skating on his own prior to the team's full practices.
Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle confirmed after the morning skate that captain Ryan Getzlaf will not play in tonight's game. Free-agent signing Derek Grant, who made the team out of training camp, could make his Ducks debut tonight. The 27-year-old center split duties with Antoine Vermette in line rushes yesterday alongside Jared Boll and Ondrej Kase.
Arizona's roster will likely be chock-full of youth, including rookie forwards Christian Fischer, Clayton Keller and Dylan Strome. Keller, selected seventh overall in the 2016 NHL Draft, led the Coyotes with eight points (3g/5a) in the preseason.
"They're a young, quick team," said Perry. "They've added some pieces to their back-end, and they're going to be mobile. You have to be aware of who is on the ice at what time."
Additional Info on Opening Night
Ducks fans are encouraged to arrive early, particularly to take part in the Orange Carpet festivities, beginning at 3:30 p.m. on Honda Center's south side. Players will greet fans as they walk the Orange Carpet and will be interviewed on stage by Ducks host Kent French.
All fans in attendance are encouraged to be in their seats by 6:45 p.m. for the opening sequence and player introductions and will receive a free promotional poster courtesy of FOX Sports GO on egress. Fans are invited to make the Ducks Opening Night festivities interactive by using the hashtags #DucksOpeningNight and #LetsGoDucks on social media platforms. In addition, the Anaheim Ducks Foundation will conduct the first 50/50 raffle of the regular season with proceeds supporting and facilitating programs that create positive change for children and families throughout Southern California.
Click here for full details on Opening Night.