Anaheim Ducks’ Penalty Kill Unit Faces Big Test Tonight Vs. Detroit Red Wings

Ducks vs. Red Wings special teams

Rick Osentoski – USA TODAY Sports

The Anaheim Ducks have been dominant in just about every statistical category this season, as they worked their way near the top of the Western Conference. The Ducks got a huge win over the league-leading Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday night, and will try and carry the momentum from that win into tonight’s home game against the Detroit Red Wings. If there’s a weakness on this Anaheim team, it’s their penalty killing, and the Red Wings will present a tough test as their road power play unit has been converting consistently over the past two weeks.

While the Ducks rank fourth in the league in goals per game and fourth in goals against, their penalty kill unit is 23rd. In sharp contrast to a power play that is the league’s third-most successful, the Ducks have surrendered at least one goal while playing a man down in four of their last six games. The Red Wings finally got their first road power play goal on Mar. 13, and haven’t looked back since. Their power play unit has converted in five straight games, and the Ducks will need to be mindful of Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Niklas Kronwall. For some reason, the Ducks penalty kill has been better with Viktor Fasth in net this season, and he will start tonight’s game opposite Red Wings’ netminder Jimmy Howard.

Anaheim will need a solid effort from defensemen Francois Beauchemin, Bryan Allen and Luca Sbisa, who have seen the bulk of shorthanded ice time lately. Saku Koivu also sees a lot of time on the kill, and if the Ducks can stop the Red Wings’ red-hot power play it will go a long way to showing they truly are the premier team in the conference. The Ducks and Red Wings will also meet on Sunday night.

Jonathan Katje is an NHL blogger for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JKatje or add him to you network on Google.

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