Takeaways: Top of the League, No Thanks to Peter Holland

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

29 teams currently trail the Ducks in the standings (Avs and Sharks have played fewer games, who cares?), largely due to the play of their three second lines.

1. Peter Holland missed out on an opportunity to stick with the big club. Again. After scoring a goal in the first game after his call-up, Holland went scoreless for three straight, culminating in a return ticket to Norfolk. He didn't look particularly horrible, but he didn't generate enough offense either. A guy like Holland is supposed to generate offense, and when he doesn't do that, he doesn't deserve to play. He now finds himself sixth in the Ducks' pecking order of centers, behind Getzlaf, Perreault, Bonino, Koivu, and Rakell, and it might not be long until he finds himself packaged in a big trade.

2. Kyle Palmieri read my post last week. Because there isn't any other possible explanation for him scoring three goals in the four games since then. He's showing us what we've known all along: tons of offensive talent, and a tendency to put a bunch of relatively quiet shifts together between chances. Which isn't the worst thing in the world, as long as he's playing on always-dependable Nick Bonino's wing. I like this duo. I like it a lot. Part of that is because it puts Etem with Perreault, but that's another story.

3. Luca Sbisa played a pretty good game. I noticed one bad turnover in the third period, but that was it. He was solid positionally and did a good job sending the puck in Henrik Lundqvist's general direction when he had the chance. Sbisa playing one good game is nothing new, however. Sbisa playing, say, ten good games in a month would be something new. Stay tuned.

4. The Ducks have survived a monstrous road trip and, thus far, an exodus to the injured reserve. I, in my limited knowledge of all things, attribute this mostly to the tremendous depth of this organization, particularly on the wing and in the cage. Mathieu Perreault, Dustin Penner, and Sbisa all returned in the past week, but Jakob Silfverberg, Saku Koivu, Teemu Selanne, Viktor Fasth, and Sheldon Souray remain on the shelf, and some of those guys will stay on that shelf for quite a while. As for Matt Beleskey, well, he is going to need more than just his health to get back into the lineup.

5. Devante Smith-Pelly looks real good out there. Three points in four games this past week, and five in seven on the season. His speed game compliments Perreault and Etem well; if not for the magic of PPG, that line would be the Ducks' best over last few games. His time on the second line will likely end when Silfverberg returns, but the game he's played lately has shown Bruce Boudreau that he can be a regular at the NHL level. Which means the Ducks now have about a thousand and seven of those. Very encouraging. Very, very encouraging.

6. Power play . . . forget it.

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