Wait. Read that headline again. "Ducks four points out of playoff spot..." Can you believe it? As I write this, the Ducks are four (4!!!) points out of the 8th and final playoff spot held by the LA Kings (nothing happened with them this evening, right?). A little shocking. I figured I'd be saying four points away from the 2012 first draft pick overall. While I think Ken Hitchcock deserves the Jack Adams, I'd be shocked if Bruce Boudreau wasn't at least nominated. He turned one of the NHL's most underachieving team into a force to be reckoned with (i.e. something they should have been all season).
The Road Trip That Never Ends did finally come to an end tonight with the shoot-out win over Carolina. On the trip, the Ducks collected 12 of 16 points. Of those four points that were not collected, that was due to either a shoot out loss (Detroit and New Jersey) or a regulation loss (Tampa Bay). Not too shabby. This is kind of amazing, actually. As much as I love this team, I really couldn't foresee such a superior run after a craptastic first half. Sure they always seem to be Cardiac Kids but this is just ridunkulous.
In respect to the magumbo, that's all I'll say.
-- MVP's of the roadtrip: Jonas Hiller, Corey Perry and Saku Koivu. The play of all three Ducks were what kept the point machine rolling. Jonas stopped pretty much everything. In 6 of the 8 games he played, he let in 3 or less goals. Since the All-Star Break, Perry has played in 12 games, picking up 7 goals, 2 assists, and is a plus-4. Reaching He-man status again this year may be a long shot, but he did score his 30th goal tonight... As for my darling Saku, he's not the offensive weapon like Perry, but he is the steadying force. I was a little surprised he was the one that got the game winning shoot out goal, but I'll take it.
-- The Jason Blake - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry line combined for 14 shots on goal tonight. I thought they looked a little sleepy until the third period, though.
-- Cam Fowler was a little shaky but I give him a ton of credit for setting up Perry's game-tying goal.
-- We've been waiting for Fowler to evolve into a Mike Green-esque player under Boudreau's tutelage, but I think we're overlooking the changes to Luca Sbisa. A lot of Luca's growth has been caused by the defense being allowed to join the rush. When you include his offensive contributions along with his ability to smother offensive players, he's scary good. Really enjoy watching this kid. He's like Francois Beauchemin Junior.
-- LVP's of the roadtrip: Bobby Ryan and Teemu Selanne. They scored some goals but didn't have great games overall. I think this is the one stretch this season where Teemu really did show his age. He was a little slow and had some miscues that lead to turnovers. Bobby just looks lost. That goal in Tampa was a beauty, but it his play beyond that has been less than stellar. He is a shoot first guy, we all know that; however, he's trying to re-create the greatest goal ever (from the playoffs) way too often. Ryan is also taking dumb penalties, another sign that he's trying too hard and thinking too much.
-- Power play is still really bad. Even though they went 1 for 5 tonight, it's just painful to watch and it shouldn't be considering the personnel on the ice. The stink of the power play is beginning to wear off on the penalty kill as well (1 for 2).
-- Not too much here. So I'll just ask this question, anyone seen Dan Ellis around? He and his injured groin seem to have evaporated from existence. No big deal, though.