More of that, please.
In a game that head coach Bruce Boudreau claimed would tell the Ducks just how far they've come, they came to play. While the 4-2 score in itself was nice, what was even better was just how thoroughly the Ducks dominated this game. They drew first blood on a great perseverance goal from Nick Bonino and kept pouring it on, even after the Canucks tied things up in the first. In the second period, the Ducks pulled away on goals from Bobby Ryan and Jason Blake, and Blake added another early in the third as a dagger that put the Ducks up 4-1. While Vancouver scored late in the third, the outcome was never really in doubt.
Anaheim excelled at every aspect of tonight's game. The Ducks were physical all night long, and it allowed them to create prolonged possessions in the offensive zone while limiting Vancouver's own chances in the defensive zone. The Ducks also did a magnificent job at containing Vancouver, holding them to just 9 shots through the first two periods and a game total of 23.
Good and Bad coming up after the jump. That's right kids, there's no Ugly tonight.
[Ed. Note: AC writer Chris was on Duck Calls tonight. Chris will self-promote on AC next time that happens. Captain's orders.]The Good
- For all of the grief we give Jason Blake, the guy makes an impact for this team when he's on the ice. In addition to helping the Ducks to a mind-boggling 9-2-1 record when he's in the lineup (hat tip to JuMowbray for that stat), his energy and effort gives this team a well-needed spark. While Blake's efforts don't always translate to the scoresheet, his work paid off nicely tonight. Blake's first goal was an absolutely stunning shot into the top corner and his second goal came on a great redirect of a Luba Sbisa shot/pass. He also chipped in an assist on Bonino's goal and ended a team-best +3.
- Speaking of Blake, the entire third line of Andrew Cogliano, Blake, and Bonino has been a revelation the past few games. Blake's effort meshes well with Cogs' speed, and it also seems to be rubbing off on the younger Bonino. Nick played a tenacious game, and was involved in multiple scoring opportunities tonight. His goal came as the result of hanging with the play and he was a force to be reckoned with tonight. The entire third line was Anaheim's best tonight, and they finished with a combined +7 on 5 points.
- While RPG didn't end up on the scoresheet (Bobby did pick up a goal on a shift with Saku Koivu and assisted on Blake's second goal), they played a very strong game. Getzlaf and Bobby both man-handled the opposition at times and the big boys started a few fire drills in the Vancouver end. RPG has played some of their best hockey in the past few games, and it was good to see them deliver another strong effort, even if they weren't able to create offense as a unit.
- Luca Sbisa is really blossoming into a star. While we've always seen his propensity to lay the lumber, Luca has made some incredibly heady plays this season and seems to never panic on the ice. His offensive game has also come along of late, and he seems to be participating in the offense at appropriate times. I've been pretty hard on Cam Fowler this year, but I think part of that is because Sbisa has played so well. I really hope to see him get more and more ice time (and PP time), as the season progresses.
- Jonas Hiller was brilliant once again. Vancouver's first goal came on a perfect shot and while he probably could have played the second goal a little better, he made several stellar saves to keep Vancouver demoralized. Jonas only gave up three goals on the road trip, stopping 72 of the 75 shots he faced for a .960 save percentage.
- The Ducks have points in their last six games and are now 15-22-7 on the season. That's still pretty ugly, but things are moving in the right direction. As of this writing, the Ducks are still 14 points out of a playoff spot. While that's still a mighty hill to climb, the Ducks do have games in hand on many of the teams ahead of them.
- The Ducks were handled in the faceoff circle, winning only 40% of the draws tonight. Bonino and Rod Pelley ended up .500 or better, while Getzlaf and Saku Koivu weren't able to crack 40%. Faceoffs have been a issue all year and thankfully it didn't hurt the Ducks tonight.
- While Anaheim did a superb job of limiting Vancouver's shots in the first two periods, the Canucks managed to rack up 14 shots in the third period. The Ducks still did a great job of keeping play in the Vancouver end, but things could have been worse.