For the second straight week to start the season, things are looking good for the Ducks. They haven't lost since that disastrous opener in Denver, and their most recent wins have been pure domination.
1. Corey Perry is back. Four points — two goals and two assists — in the last two games, and six in the last four. He's looked good doing it, too. Every shift, he's weaving in and out of defenders, stick-handling in the proverbial phonebooth, and generating scoring chances for himself and his linemates. His shot totals per game are worth checking out as well. One in the first game, two in the second, three in the third, four in the fourth, and five against Ottawa. That means he'll take 82 shots in the season finale, right?
2. Jonas Hiller wants to be the clear-cut number one guy. Lost in the offensive exploits of the last couple of games has been the exceptional play of Hiller. Impressive as they are, the Ducks' young defensemen have inevitably allowed some excellent scoring chances against, particularly in the Ottawa game. With one exception, Hiller has stopped them all. For my money, he's playing as well now as he ever has (Yes, I know the season is young), and when the offense comes back to Earth and the games get tighter, he's going to be the difference maker the Ducks need.
3. No fourth line in the NHL has more talent than the Ducks'. If Maroon/Penner/Beleskey (whoever is healthy and playing well) stay up top with the Twins, the combination of Nick Bonino, Emerson Etem, and Kyle Palmieri can remain intact, forming arguably the best fourth line in the league. Neither winger has a point yet, but Bonino scored against Ottawa and all three were dynamic in transition and in the offensive zone. Fourth lines tend to play against other fourth lines, and I can't think of one anywhere that these guys can't beat.
4. Hampus Lindholm knows how to pick his spots offensively. We've now seen him enough to watch him make a number of mistakes, but those are far outweighed by the good decisions he's made. And not all of his good plays have been safe, conservative plays. He has demonstrated a willingness to join the rush — not every time, but when he knows he can — and his passing is oh so smooth. I think Corey Perry would agree. The biggest story of the next few weeks is going to be whether or not he gets sent down before burning a year off his entry level contract.
5. The power play is still abysmal. Granted, it looked better against Ottawa than it did against New York. The Ducks generated loads of chances, and if not for some spectacular goaltending by Robin Lehner, they almost certainly would have converted. But the fact remains that they went 0 for 6 in two straight games and their season power play percentage sits at a microscopic 4.8%. Which would be disastrous if not for the fact that . . .
6. All four lines can rock the five on five. Saku Koivu and his mates have done an exceptional job against some high-end talent, the Getzlaf line — mostly because of Perry — has found its stride, the Perreault line's speed has so far outweighed its lack of size, and the Bonino line, as I have already mentioned, does not look like a typical fourth line.