A little over a month ago, the Ducks had fought their way out of an early season funk to a seemingly secure spot in the playoff race. Immediately following that success, Anaheim dropped 5 in a row, Hiller was battling vertigo and the season was on the verge of collapse.
Since that losing streak, the Ducks have gone 9-2, including some victories featuring last minute heroics. Arthur, you've displayed your ability to be the devil and push a new Duck player into the 3 stars every night, but who do you think the Ducks should be thanking for sparking this turnaround?
Each and every one of themselves. The joy of the good magumbo gamedays, where I just insert 'mother fowling' into someone's name, is that I'm predicting that someone different will step into the breach when the game is on the line. That doesn't mean that there's a NEW hero every night or that the team hasn't experienced lapses in focus, but they're bearing down and finishing as a group.
They're not living or dying with the execution or failure of one player, and that's the only way to make the push they will need to make in order to emerge above the cutoff line in the West. This is not a team waiting for its hero to arrive and deliver two points.
The only way for a new player to be the difference on any given night is for every player to believe he CAN be the difference on any given night. If this team can get to that point-- and they seem to be making strides in the direction --then they will quickly become that deadly roster of players where you just don't know who to thank after a win.
I think goaltending was a key reason the Ducks had that 5 game losing streak, and goaltending has been a key reason they've turned it around. Dan Ellis' save percentage hasn't been glistening since he got here, but he's made more than his fair share of huge saves for the Ducks. Emery has been solid in his 3 starts, and what's not to like about a goalie who's undefeated in a Ducks sweater?
The timely goal scoring of Perry and Selanne has been undeniably huge. However, that stretch saw McElhinney lose some games that he really needed to keep the team in to give them a chance to win. Emery and Ellis have made timely saves, and been two of the biggest reasons the Ducks are now back in the hunt for a playoff berth. It's bad that one of them has to be the odd man out going down the stretch, but they have been invaluable in helping the Ducks get their season back on track. They deserve a special 'thank you' from Ducks fans.