TV: FOX Sports Florida
TIME: 8 p.m. ET
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ANAHEIM, Calif — The Anaheim Ducks will honor two legends of the franchise Sunday at Honda Center for “Hall of Fame Night.”
After that, two hockey teams will square off in a game that both clubs need to win.
Former Anaheim stars Teemu Selanne and Paul Kariya will be honored after their Hall of Fame inductions before the Ducks and Florida Panthers drop the puck.
Anaheim (8-7-3) is coming off a 4-2 victory over Boston on Wednesday and going into a stretch of three games in four nights while Florida (7-10-2) took a 4-0 beating at the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday afternoon to continue a three-game California road trip.
Defenseman Mike Matheson tried to describe what happened to the Panthers in downtown Los Angeles as they get ready to move south to Orange County.
“From our point of view, I don’t think we played hard enough in the crease,” Matheson said. “There were times we could have got to the net, gotten pucks to the net and made it a little harder for them. I think that’s the difference maker from our point of view.
“Like I said, we know what they have every game we play them in here, they’re tough to play against. We know we have to match that intensity. I thought we had a good 40 minutes then kind of fell through there.”
The Ducks, meanwhile, continue to manage without center Ryan Getzlaf, right winger Jared Boll, center Ondrej Kase, right winger Patrick Eaves, center Ryan Kesler and defenseman Cam Fowler.
Still, they are treading water because goaltender John Gibson has been on his game all season. He is coming off a 42-save effort against Boston and is 6-6-1 on the season with a 2.84 goals-against average and .920 save percentage.
“Knowing he is back there making those saves gives us confidence,” said rookie winger Kevin Roy, an AHL San Diego call up who scored his first career NHL goal against Boston. “He is back there making saves and that allows us to play our games. He is an excellent goalie and we are lucky to have him.”
Florida counters with goaltender Roberto Luongo, who recorded the 74th shutout of his career Thursday in a 4-0 victory at San Jose to move two shutouts behind Tony Esposito and Ed Belfour for ninth on the NHL’s all-time list.
And the Ducks? Well, they can’t wait to honor Selanne and Kariya, who came to southern California and helped make hockey cool.
“I mean, you are talking about two legends right there, two guys we all grew up watching,” said Roy, who grew up in Greenfield Park, Quebec, watching Selanne and Kariya work their magic. “The building is going to be electric for sure. We’re all going to be skating with a little extra for those guys.”