As Cory Schneider attests in the video above, the best chance of beating the Vancouver Canucks this season comes when Cory Schneider is in net. Still, the Ducks were buzzing against the best team in the league. Getzlaf got right back into the mix of things, the entire Top 6 was dangerous, the third line produced and the defense looked strong for a corps that is about to add a familiar Carlyle ice time gormandizer in Francois Beauchemin.
Daniel, was tonight's win important for this Ducks team moving forward, or was it just another two points from a team that's used to playing an off night in front of its backup goaltender?
I think this is a huge win for the Ducks. They've struggled all year on the road. There were questions as to whether or not Getzlaf would be detrimental to team chemistry when he came back. The Ducks still managed to control the game for long stretches against the top team in the league, backup goaltender or no backup goaltender. The new third line looked good. Big Sexy was making some great passes. Lapierre was laying out some guys. The second line was getting pressure early.
The West is tightening up in the standings and every 2 points is so important. Coming out with the win here is one step closer to the playoffs for a team that could be a matchup nightmare. Every victory reassures the Ducks that they are on the right path, and that increases confidence. Every victory from here on out will be big in settling this team into their identity, giving them confidence, and getting them ready for the rest of the season.
Yeah, I think it was important for the forward combinations to come out strong in this game, and they really looked like they hadn't missed a beat. With the defensive corps turning into the NHL's version of Overstock.com, there's some job security in being an Anaheim forward right now, and you didn't want to see Carlyle put into a position where he was tempted to shuffle right out of the gate.
Will they need to lean on Curtis McElhinney going forward? Probably not. Will Bob Murray move some defense for some options at forward? Probably. But just as this group figured out a way to do it without Getzlaf, they've figured out a way to get going on all cylinders with the group they have now against the best team in the NHL. In the war of attrition that is the final stretch of the NHL season, the ability to gel as a squad is any team's strongest weapon. For a while there, maybe even going into last season, 'chemistry' was a four-letter word around these parts. Now, it seems like it might be a battle cry.