Takeaways: The Crippled Blue Line Can Play

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Despite playing without three of last season's regulars, the Ducks' D corps is pulling its weight, largely thanks to some truly exceptional play from Cam Fowler. But don't forget about the other guys who are getting it done.

1. Ryan Getzlaf is an excellent candidate for the position of Best Hockey Player in the World Not Wearing Number 87. He essentially scored five of the Ducks' nine goals in three games last week, two of which hit Corey Perry or his stick on the way. I still catch other teams' broadcasters informing their viewers that the key to this and that game is shutting down Perry, and especially out east (where I live right now), the perception that Perry is far and away the Ducks' biggest offensive producer is quite common. Perry, it ought to be noted, is playing some tremendous hockey right now, and has been doing so for years. But Getzlaf has been this team's best player almost every year since 2006-07, when Scott Niedermayer would have held that title, and Perry's one crazy awesome Hart Trophy year has blocked that from most non-Ducks fans' minds.

2. You know what? Mark Fistric has played pretty well. This isn't about his overtime winner that wasn't or his empty netter a day later. It's about his play defensively. He and Hampus Lindholm were on the ice for two goals against in three games last week, and one of them was 100% Getzlaf's fault. (People I'm trying to win over in my first point: Don't watch that video.) I will absolutely take that kind of showing from a 19 year old and a guy who was expected to be the seventh or eight defenseman. Which reminds me . . . [Ed. Note: Way to jinx him, you jerk. - Kyle]

3. I'm starting to take the play of Lindholm and Sami Vatanen for granted, and I shouldn't. The Ducks took Vatanen in the fourth round of the 2009 draft, so he's a steal even if he reaches his peak tomorrow, which he won't. Lindholm, taken 6th overall in 2012, was a much more controversial pick. Bob Murray passed on plenty of players ranked above Lindholm, and I think we were all in a bit of a panic when we heard his name called instead of Mathew Dumba's or Jacob Trouba's — a panic that was only heightened by Pierre McGuire's outburst of enthusiasm. But looking back, who would you rather have that was available? Here's the complete draft list.

4. Secondary scoring is still a big issue, but Kyle Palmieri in particular has looked better in the last couple of games. He's creating chances for himself and going to the net in a way that bears very little resemblance to his play in the previous weeks. It looks like it's only a matter of time until he breaks through. His line is the only one that did not score in St. Louis, but they definitely could have.

5. If Jonas Hiller and Frederik Andersen are the Ducks' two goalies headed into the playoffs, I will not be concerned about them. Viktor Fasth's trade value is plummeting, and so are the number of people who'd rather see him than Andersen back up Hiller. This goaltending situation is complicated, but as the old saying goes, it's a good problem to have. Hiller almost won the LA game on his own, and has been a huge part of most of the recent Ducks victories.

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