There isn't much time left to waste, so let's get right to it, the Good, Bad and Ugly...
- As Jen likes to call them, the PBP Line (Kyle Palmieri, Nick Bonino, Bobby Ryan) was our best line tonight. The three players that look to makeup our third line next season contributed greatly to the Ducks successes this game. They combined for eight points (2 goals, 6 assists) including a career night for Nick Bonino, who finished with three apples. Palmieri was also magnificent tonight, after a paltry effort against the Predators. Bobby has stepped up as a leader on that line, shedding his status as just a sniper. The kids look good [Ed note: Bobby just turned 25, is he still a kid?]!
- Judging by the outcome, most people wouldn’t have expected that the Ducks weren’t the first ones to score. In fact, the Sharks did, while holding two different leads within the first period. The persistence of the Ducks was what kept them in the game by the first intermission, and it was a great start to the second period that locked up the game. Starting with a hardworking goal from the twins. Speaking of Getzlaf...
- Ryan Getzlaf’s play lately has been nothing short of great. Not only has he done a worthy job putting points on the scoresheet, but his overall demeanor has been invigorating. He’s skating hard, making heads up plays, and finding his linemates superbly. If not for Thomas Greiss, the totals from our first line would have matched those of the third.
- The scoring from Ducks defensemen have been inadequate this season, mostly due to the fact that (from what we presume) Lubomir Visnovsky's shoulder is still injured. Tonight though, three of the six Ducks defensemen who dressed, contributed on the scoresheet. Leading the way was Lubo, who tallied two assists. As well, Francois Beauchemin scored once again by pinching to the crease on the powerplay. Not only that, Nate Guenin scored from a beautiful pointshot that all but secured a Ducks victory in the second.
- Not sure of the numbers on the past season series’ between the Ducks and the Sharks, but this season we’ve played them like we were the reigning Stanley Cup Champions. Although there is still one matchup left on the schedule, the Ducks have won four of the five matchups between the two clubs, and have put a damper on the Sharks playoff hopes [Ed note: WOOHOO!].
- The biggest Ducks trade of the off-season is still a confusing one. Apart from our big guns and Jason Blake, Andrew Cogliano is getting paid the most with a yearly cap hit of $2.39 million. His play though, isn’t even worthy of an entry-level contract. For long stretches of the night he disappeared, even when playing on a line with two great players. You never would’ve guessed that he was on the ice for 18 minutes tonight.
- What’s staggering to me is the ‘Hiller Effect’. On nights when our goaltender is amazing and keeping the Ducks in the game, they can never manage a win. Poor efforts against some teams overshadow how great Jonas Hiller has been this season. On the other hand, Jeff Deslauriers got his second start of the season tonight, and the team supplied five (!) goals. In his only other start of the season January 10th against Dallas, the team also provided him with five goals. What gives?
- Although the Ducks played very good throughout the game, it’s frightening when they can take two costly penalties in the third that could’ve allowed San Jose to jump back in the game. Devante Smith-Pelly, as much as I love you, control your stick! This is the second time in as many games that DSP has taken an avoidable high-sticking minor. As well, Corey Perry needs to have the presence of mind not to clear the puck over the glass so late in the game. 6-on-4’s make my heart skip.
- Is that you Randy? Our fourth line really got the shaft tonight, highlighted by the 2:14 played by George Parros. Not only that, his linemates Rod Pelley (5:33) and Matt Beleskey (7:45) really didn’t fare much better. I enjoy Bruce Boudreau shortening the bench – I mean, the Ducks won – but on the back-end of a back-to-back, the top guys need their rest.
- As much as I enjoyed it, Jason Blake and his $4 million sitting in the pressbox still doesn’t resonate with me. They team played a lot better without him, but with that amount of money, the Ducks could have significant upgrades in places they desperately need them. A good trade-off, but definitely costly.