Anaheim Ducks new coach Bruce Boudreau admitted that he didn't know to much about the Ducks as a team when he took the job. Tonight he found out about the Ducks dirty little secret - undisciplined penalties. More on that later.
The Ducks came out with a flash that's usually reserved for a certain Finn. I didn't see any hesitation or reverting back to the old system for the first two periods. The Ducks were flying up the ice at every opportunity. Tonight's score is not an indicator of how well they have begun to adapt to what little of Boudreau's system they've learned. This can only get better. We have the talent, we have the speed, and now we have the coach that lets the guys use it. My dad coined this as "The Boudreau Effect".
Yet the Ducks still have that mental hurdle to climb. As the Flyers started to make their come back, I saw the team becoming reactive instead of the proactive team I saw earlier in the game. The body language was reverted back to the slumped shoulders and bowed heads that is all too familiar to Ducks fans. Once again, the Ducks became their worst enemy. Here is where Boudreau's noticibly positive outlook on the team is going to be key. He must go from winning hearts and minds as a politician to a part therapist, part motivational speaker.
-- Jonas Hiller played out of his mind. Again, the score is a bad indicator of that. He stopped 43 of 47 (!!!) shots. His righthand catching glove is unreal. There were several times that he snatched pucks destined for the back of the net out of the air so quickly you'd miss it if you blinked. He's getting back to where we want him to be. As the Ducks continue to transition, he'll need to continue to steal some games for the team.
-- I really enjoyed seeing Bruce consistently roll four lines over the boards. This gives the players an opportunity to keep their legs fresh and give top players a little more rest between shifts. Our line matching days are over, folks. Letting everyone play helps increase depth scoring. You can't get better if you're not on the ice.
-- File this under "Things I Didn't Expect": Matt Beleskey played extremely well with Saku Koivu and Teemu Selanne. He was that physical bite that the line needed. Koivu had an outstanding game, as well. Both Beleskey and Koivu were getting under the skin of the Flyers opening up the ice for Teemu. We all know Teemu isn't going to be overtly physical. Beleskey may not have the natural puck-handling of the Finn Twins, but he's going to throw the body around and piss off the other team.
-- Commissioner (Andrew) Gordon scores his first goal as a Duck on an assist from (Ben) Maxwell Smart. Boom.
-- Ryan Getzlaf and Saku Koivu had one of their best nights on the dot with 65% and 61% success rates respectively. Getzy also lead the team with 6 hits, followed by Luca with 4. Toni Lydman and Francois Beauchemin were paired together a lot to kill penalties and combined for 10 blocked shots.
-- Hey, we made Sportscenter tonight because of our coach. I turned it off. I don't like reminders of losses.
-- Boudreau tinkered with the idea of playing Getzlaf, Selanne, Corey Perry, Bobby Ryan, and Cam Fowler on the power play. I remember Carlyle tried to do the same at the beginning of last season, but quickly abandoned the four forwards idea. I wouldn't mind seeing it again because our second power play (Koivu, Andrew Cogliano, Devante Smith-Pelly, Sheldon Brookbank, and Francois Beauchemin) are able to score too, with Cogs netting one tonight.
--The top line was strong, but not a positive factor in tonight's game. Depth scoring got the Ducks the goals they needed and RPG registered zero points across the board.
-- I was at the game, so I didn't see the telecast. Did Ben Maxwell get hurt? He played a team low 2:53 time on ice. Yet somehow he managed one point when RPG didn't have any. I keep forgetting about this guy. If he's not hurt, he should be put back on waivers and a kid from Syracuse should be brought up.
-- I tweeted this; I'm taking wagers on how much Teemu Selanne is going to get fined for this post-game rant about the officiating in OT. My bet is $10K.
"Getting (four) on three in overtime, it's going to be murder. Somebody's going to say the f-word to the referee and (then he gets) ... a (four) on three. That's unbelievable. Why he didn't give him 10 (minutes)? Why (did) he have to blow the game?
-- Can't really blame this on the penalty killers, but the PK gave up 3 goals tonight. When you take dumb penalties, bad things happen. Why we haven't learned this yet is beyond me.
-- Corey Perry did something tonight that I never thought I would find myself saying - he held on to the puck too long. For the past few games, he keeps coming in on a rush, skating behind the goal, and then attempt an NHL 94 wrap around. He just needs to fire away, not go Getzlaf on us.
-- Worst. Idea. Ever. Whomever controls the music at Honda Center decided to put on "Eye of the Tiger" as the Ducks were making their push to close out the game (or maybe it was OT, I don't remember). Yeah, not such a good idea when you're playing the Philadelphia Flyers. Pretty sure that city has a statue of Rocky Balboa.
-- 22 penalty minutes to the Flyers' 10. I hate, hate, HATE the excuse of refs blowing calls. It's always going to happen. Get over it. When we're not watching with our "Well, we're the Ducks and we automatically get penalties for breathing" goggles on, the Ducks deserve most of the calls they receive. Boudreau will continue to expect his players to play with emotion, but that needs to be harnessed to a point.
-- Oh, Ryan Getzlaf. You say you're going to change but you never do. Once again, Getzlaf takes a idiotic penalty at the most crucial point of the game, sudden-death OT, and then drops a few more f-bombs than Boudreau did on 24/7 to earn an extra two. I hate to say it, but I kind of blame this loss on him. Before all of you get excited, Boudreau is not going to strip his 'C' after one game. What we can watch for is Boudreau to try to get through to Getzlaf by mentoring, and if that doesn't work, he'll keep him off the ice. He did it to Ovie, he'll do it to Getz.
-- Cannot continue to come out early, get lead and then watch it slip away. Ducks were up 3-0 at one point and then the Flyers go on to score four unanswered goals for a final score of 4-3 after OT. This is all about the momentum and the Ducks cannot seem to change it back their way.
-- Being in Anaheim, we attract fans of all the NHL teams. I'm totally used to being surrounded by supporters of the visitors. Philly fans were loud, as I expected them to be. What I didn't enjoy was the three separate incidents on my way out of Honda Center where idiotic Flyers fans started screaming something about the game at me and literally putting their jersey in my face. Classy.