Anaheim Ducks vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Pick & Prediction MARCH 24th 2024


With a seven-game losing skid now put to bed, the Anaheim Ducks can turn their attention to the final dozen games of what has been a disappointing season.

However, as Anaheim prepares to host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday night, the Pacific Division club can focus on a few bright spots as it starts looking to the future.

The Ducks (24-43-3, 51 points) only have more points than the Chicago Blackhawks (45) and San Jose Sharks (40) in the NHL.

Yet right winger Frank Vatrano and goaltender Lukas Dostal have experienced bright moments during dark times.

Vatrano broke a nine-game skid without a goal in Anaheim’s 4-0 win over the Blackhawks on Thursday. Vatrano’s goal was his career-high 30th, making him the second undrafted Ducks skater to score at least 30 goals in a season. Andy McDonald accomplished the feat and finished with 34 in 2005-06.

With the Ducks holding a 3-0 lead, Vatrano ripped a shot past goaltender Arvid Soderblom midway into the third period.

“For him, he’s been sitting on 29 for a little bit, so just nice for him to get that and not have to worry about that anymore,” said Alex Killorn, who tallied twice in the victory. “He’s obviously been playing great hockey. This was a huge game for us … to get off the slide.”

Dostal turned aside all 29 shots to post his first career shutout. He owns an 11-19-1 record and a respectable .901 save percentage to go along with a 3.46 goals-against average.

Killorn predicted good days ahead for the 23-year-old backstop.

“He’s a great young goalie and he’s going to have a lot of shutouts in his league,” Killorn said. “Nice to be here for his first.”

Top right winger Troy Terry reached the 30-assist plateau for the third straight season.

On Saturday, the Lightning (38-25-7, 83 points) rallied from a two-goal deficit to forge a tie late in the third period before dropping a 4-3 decision in overtime to the Los Angeles Kings.

In overtime, Tampa Bay’s Erik Cernak and Anthony Cirelli were both caught defending Adrian Kempe near the penalty box, freeing up Vladislav Gavrikov for the eventual game-winning goal.

Captain Steven Stamkos scored twice in just under a four-minute sequence late in the third period.

Stamkos, who has 29 goals on the season, moved past Hockey Hall of Fame member Gordie Howe with his 210th power-play tally with one team.

Stamkos is now tied in that department with former Kings star Luc Robitaille for third place.

Nikita Kucherov stretched his team-record assist streak to 13 games, and Anthony Duclair set up a goal to give him at least a point in all six games with the Lightning since being acquired at the trade deadline.

“To get one (point) in this building against that team — they had a two-goal lead in the third. That showed a lot of guts by our guys,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “Overtime was unfortunate. Obviously some miscommunication.”

–Field Level Media

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