Rickard Rakell hopes his November to remember is followed by similar results in the new month as the Anaheim Ducks open a three-game road trip through Western Canada on Thursday with a date versus the Vancouver Canucks. The 23-year-old Swede scored for the second straight game and ninth time in 14 contests as Anaheim posted its second straight victory with a 2-1 triumph over Montreal on Tuesday.
“It seems like I‘m finding the right spot to put the puck in right now,” Rakell told The Orange County Register. “I‘m just trying to keep it going. I‘m not thinking about it too much. It’s obviously fun to score goals.” Goaltender John Gibson has done his best to stop them at his end of the ice, recording a career-best 39 saves against the Canadiens and 17 in a 4-2 victory over Vancouver on Oct. 23. Bo Horvat (team-leading 16 points) scored a short-handed goal in the first meeting with the Ducks and tallied in Tuesday’s 5-4 victory over Minnesota to extend his point streak to five games, during which he has three goals and four assists.
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ABOUT THE DUCKS (11-8-4): Corey Perry collected a goal and an assist in the first encounter versus Vancouver, but his four tallies this season leave a bit to be desired for a six-time 30-goal scorer. The 2011 Hart Trophy winner hasn’t scored since Oct. 26, although he does boast a team-best eight power-play assists and club high-tying 18 points. Captain Ryan Getzlaf also has 18 points and a club-best 16 assists, with three coming in the previous meeting with the Canucks.
ABOUT THE CANUCKS (10-11-2): Brandon Sutter collected a goal and an assist versus the Wild to increase his point total to seven (five goals, two assists) in his past eight games. Defenseman Ben Hutton also chipped in by scoring a goal and setting up another, giving him five points (two goals, three assists) in his past six. Captain Henrik Sedin is working his way through a mild offensive slump, recording a pair of his team-best nine assists on Tuesday after being limited to just two points in his previous six games.
1. Canucks veteran G Ryan Miller owns a 4-7-1 mark with a 2.82 goals-against average versus the Ducks.
2. Anaheim has won 12 of its last 17 versus Vancouver.
3. The Canucks have killed off all 12 short-handed opportunities in their last five games.
PREDICTION: Ducks 3, Canucks 2