By Kyle Shohara
The league-leading Ducks close out a brief three-game homestand on Military Appreciation Night at Honda Center.
Tonight’s opponent is Anaheim’s newest division rival, the Vancouver Canucks, a club that enters the game in fourth place in the Pacific with an 11-6-2 record. The Canucks were shellacked in a 5-1 loss last night in Los Angeles, with Dan Hamhuis netting their lone goal.
As for the Ducks, they enter tonight’s game on a four-game winning streak, tied for the longest active streak in the NHL (also Washington), and have a standings point streak of eight consecutive games (7-0-1), also the longest current streak in the NHL. In addition, the Ducks are riding an active seven-game home winning streak, which marks the most consecutive home wins to start a season in franchise history. The Ducks are also the only NHL club with a perfect home record this season.
“We need to put [divisional opponents] behind us,” said Nick Bonino. “Everyone in our division is strong. No one is really out of it. We’re going to go in, try to get two points, and hit the road with a good win.”
Though Anaheim made quick work of the struggling Buffalo Sabres in Friday night’s 6-2 victory, head coach Bruce Boudreau knows the team can be much better.
“We can be a lot better,” Boudreau said. “We showed 14 clips of us not doing the right thing in our own zone, and that was just in the first half of [Friday’s] game. If you’re playing Vancouver and you give it to the Sedins in the slot, they’re putting it in the net. We’ve got to protect the puck better, we’ve got to do all the little things better.”
Tonight’s game is the first of five against the Canucks, and the first of three at Honda Center. Last season, the Ducks opened the 2012-13 campaign with a 7-3 victory at Rogers Arena, but then got blown out by Vancouver in a 5-0 loss at Honda Center two games later. Boudreau knows the Canucks are a team that can easily return to form after a loss.
“Vancouver is always tough against us,” Boudreau said. “I still remember the 5-0 beating they put on us in our first home game last year, and they’re playing really well. They’re at the top of their game. We better be ready.”
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