BOBBY SMASH! - Dilip Vishwanat
The Ducks have had a surprisingly successful first half of the shortened NHL season. Now they're on the home stretch to reach the promised land.
What a week, eh? Hell, what a season so far. I can't be the only one still in shock the Ducks have done this well. Perhaps I'm guilty of setting my expectations low enough where I couldn't end up heartbroken (again) at the end of the season.
Instead of focusing on my insatiable worry of "when are they going to eff things up", let's take a look at some of the highlights of the first half:
-- Francois Beauchemin has stepped up beyond expectations, turning into a sleeper candidate for the Norris
-- Viktor Fasth!
-- Ryan Getzlaf has exorcised the demons of the past two-three(ish) seasons and is leading the team in almost every offensive category.
-- Even without Teemu Selanne consistently on the top unit, the Power Play has captured the top spot in the NHL.
-- 11 different players have five or more goals.
-- The Ducks are second in the Western Conference with 37 points. They are behind first place Chicago by 8 points and ahead of the next Pacific Division rival LA Kings by 9 points.
-- At home, the Ducks are 10-1-0. On the road, 7-2-3.
Not bad at all.
Tonight's opponent, the St. Louis Blues, played yesterday afternoon in San Jose, where they came back and beat the Sharks in overtime. Who knows if fatigue will be a factor but this team should never be underestimated.
The last time the two teams met, the Ducks had to come back from a 3-1 first period deficit by scoring three unanswered goals in the second period to go up 4-3. Then in the third, the Ducks and Blues exchanged goals before St. Louis scored a final goal to take the game into overtime. The Ducks won in the shootout on the 12th shooter, Nick Bonino and with Viktor Fasth in net.