One of my favorite scenes in Monty Python's "The Holy Grail" is when a guy with a wheelbarrow is walking around a village, calling on people to "bring out your dead". A body gets added to the pile and that body says, "I'm not dead yet!". To which the another man responds, "You will be."
In a way, that seems to sum up almost everyone outside of the fan base and their current feelings of the Ducks season. They are alive and kicking, putting up a hell of a fight, but will soon be dead. I can understand their point of view and the Mount Everest that the team will have to overcome to get into the 8th playoff spot in the West. The Ducks currently sit in 13th place with 41 points. 12th place - not even 8th - is nine points away (held by Phoenix). Yet from there it's only two points away from the 8th and final playoff spot held by tomorrow evening's opponent, Colorado.
I'm cautiously optimistic that the Ducks have fully bought in to Boudreau's system and we're starting to see the results. Everyone knows how good this team can be, but we don't know how long they can keep it up.
-- Under Boudreau, I've noticed that the Ducks are getting in into the shooting lanes much more and as a result, are blocking a record number of shots. This afternoon, the Ducks blocked 22 shots to Ottawa's 10. Of those blocks, 9 were credited to Francois Beauchemin (new contract=bravery) and 5 to Toni Lydman. I have to believe that this increase in shot blocking is making Jonas Hiller more comfortable with the group playing in front of him. I, for one, would never put myself in front of a 90 MPH slapshot. Pretty sure if one hit me, I would explode.
-- I don't know what was said to Ryan Getzlaf behind closed doors, but his game is starting to do a full turnaround. I believe that under Carlyle, Getzlaf was becoming complacent and knew he wouldn't be called on it. While it's not apparent in the media (save Bob Murray's "everyone is available"), I believe that Boudreau did or said something to Getzy that got his attention. Tonight he was 67% in the faceoff circle, winning two critical faceoffs at the end of the game. He's regularly transforming into Hulk-zlaf with another multi-hit night. He's attacking the net, not just floating around in the back.
-- Another NBA Jamz line for Corey Perry - "He's on fire!" He is just so good. I thought he should have been on of the All-Star Game's assistant captains, but I guess the NHL owed Henrik Sedin something after this past summer. Hopefully his buddy Joffrey Lupul will get captain Zdeno Chara to take him earlier in the draft.
-- Another Duck that is playing out of his mind? Jonas Hiller. His New Year's Resolution must have been to be a better goalie. Hiller was one of those that openly said that the Ducks needed a change behind the bench. He got what he wanted and is showing his appreciation. Boudreau wears his heart on his sleeve and has no problem with doting on the goalie when he's fabulous and criticize him when he's not.
-- Gotta love when Ottawa scores game-winning own goals. Did so tonight and this one other time a couple years ago...
--Not too much, really. Boudreau is open to rolling all four lines when things are going well, but the minute the game gets tight, the 4th line sits. They averaged about 4 1/2 minutes.
-- George Parros is the enforcer, but early in the game one of the Senators players took a run at him. Instead of staying engaged in the play, he started chasing around Senators trying to hit someone or get them to drop the gloves. It resulted in a scoring chance for Ottawa.
-- Why did Kyle Palmieri get called up? He needs more time on the ice, than in planes.
-- The third period was sluggish for the Ducks. They should be all too aware that even a 2-0 lead isn't safe this season and they allowed Ottawa to get back into the game. Luckily only Nick Foligno scored and the game ended 2-1. It's easy for the Ducks to resort to the old habit of sitting back and trying to defend the lead, instead to pushing to widen the gap further.