Takeaways: Teemu Up Top

After nine years of playing on different lines, three of the four highest scoring players in franchise history are now on the ice at the same time.

1. For the first time since the departure of Andy McDonald, Teemu Selanne is playing most of his even strength shifts with a legitimate top-line center. Neither Randy Carlyle nor Bruce Boudreau had ever slotted him alongside Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry for anything other than power plays, pulled-goalie scenarios, or desperate line shuffling, and certainly never for multiple consecutive games, as we are seeing now.

The Flash has two goals and an assist in his last two games, all at even strength, and he looks dangerous out there. His age-related deficiencies that we have seen increase in the last two seasons — losing board battles, poor backchecking, turnovers — are still evident, and he's certainly the passenger of the trio, but he is scoring, and that makes all the difference in the world. What Selanne does still have is pure offensive skill and instinct. If Getzlaf and Perry can give him time and space, he can be dangerous.

Even if he spends most of his shifts being not all that effective, he might be worth keeping on that line because once or twice a game, he will end up in a situation where his goal-scoring or playmaking abilities can take over, and the one goal he helps create will more than offset the half dozen weaker shifts he took before it.

2. Stephane Robidas can really move the puck up the ice. His game is far from perfect — and it will improve as his broken leg moves further into the past — but the one thing that has stood out in his first few games with the Ducks is his ability to get the puck out of his zone and onto the sticks of his forwards. When Cam Fowler returns to the lineup — hopefully closer to three weeks away than five — the Ducks will have three defensemen who are excellent puck-movers (Fowler, Sami Vatanen, and Hampus Lindholm) and three who are solid defenders but can still move the puck better than many people think (Robidas, Francois Beauchemin, and Ben Lovejoy). It's up to the seventh and eighth and maybe ninth defensemen to make sure their team is still playing long enough for all six of those guys to be healthy at the same time, something that hasn't happened yet.

3. The power play has now scored in three straight games, if you include Mathieu Perreault's goal against Washington that came right as the penalty expired. What did these three of these goals have in common? The same five players were on the ice for all of them. Getzlaf, Perry, Perreault, Lindholm, and Patrick Maroon. Say goodbye to the first PP unit, Nick Bonino.

4. The once-fearsome Western Canadian road trip kicks off at the Saddledome on Wednesday. There is only so much revenge a playoff team can exact on a non-playoff team, but the Ducks will do their best to make the Calgary Flames pay for how well they played in their last meeting. After that, the Ducks will face off against the Edmonton Oilers in the first of three Oilers-Ducks games that will take place in less than three weeks. Let me put that another way: The Ducks play four of their final eleven games against Alberta-based teams. Those should be the easiest eight points left on the schedule, and with the division title on the line, there is no excuse for not winning all of them.

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