You know, there is one thing the Ducks have done well so far this season. They’ve given their fans the opportunity to develop low expectations. When you’re looking at each game as a loss waiting to happen and then the team comes out and performs better than what you were expecting, you’re automatically thrilled with any positive output they give you! This was definitely the case for me as I stepped into the Honda Center this evening.
I’m still teetering on the fence of when I’m supposed to throw in the towel on the season and when I’m supposed to hold out on hope. I don’t know when it’s going to be too late, but the Ducks did their best to prolong that tonight.
With the few Ducks wins, I feel like I come home being grateful that they didn’t give it away in the final moments. That somehow they managed to eek one out despite the way they performed on the ice. I didn’t feel like that tonight. Sure, there was that moment when they let Phoenix score a goal to bring it within one, and I definitely prepared myself for a free fall, but then the Ducks did this crazy thing that I’ve yet to see from them in a long time.
They kept playing.
It was the weirdest thing. They kept pressuring and shooting the puck. They were moving their feet and hustling to maintain possession. They were hitting and blocking shots, and even, after a 4-1 lead in the third period, they never stopped trying to score. I couldn’t believe my eyes as it happened, but it was almost as if someone informed them that there is 60 minutes to every hockey game and they were discovering the clock for the first time in their careers.
The great thing is that these same players will wake up in the morning with a very tiny reward to not find themselves dead last in the league. Hopefully that disgusting virus was a 24 hour bug and they’ve flushed it out with a nice win over their Pacific Division foes.
- Lubomir Visnovsky! Boy was it good to see Lubo back on the ice and taking some blistering shots! He was credited with a team high 7 shots! I think the best thing about Lubo back on the ice was that he actually made his defensive partner, Toni Lydman, look remarkably improved as well. Welcome back Lubo!
- Niklas Hagman scoring some goals...yes, multiple goals! I guess that’s what some time on the power play and on the top line with the big boys will get you, but it was fantastic to see him contributing. Corey Perry was clearly trying to set him up for that hattie, and they both seemed to be enjoying themselves trying to get it accomplished.
- What a way to introduce yourself to the fans, Rod Pelley. He showed that he wasn’t lying when he said he was a hard working player, and that was evident in his 15:00 minutes of ice time. 1 shot, 1 goal. Excellent. [Ed Note: I've taken to calling him Rovante Smith Pelley]
- Bruce Boudreau has what often seems like an interesting method of just throwing out forwards. It’s almost as if he’s not so concerned with lines as much as he’s concerned with giving everyone ice time. Perry and Ryan Getzlaf each had about 20:00 minutes and the low man on the totem pole was Brandon McMillan who still got 9:00 minutes.
- While the 2nd line didn’t look overly threatening tonight, Bobby Ryan and Teemu Selanne did a fantastic job of drawing some much needed penalties to get the Ducks on the power play.
- Speaking of the power play, the continued opportunity to start the second period was most impressive. The team was hustling to save pucks from leaving the Ducks’ zone, and it benefited them greatly when Hagman scored his first of the evening. Hard work pays off, who knew?
- I kinda got what I wanted. I was looking for some scoring depth and some contributions from everyone tonight. Pelley, Hagman and Kyle Palmieri scoring for the team with assists from the big boys is the well rounded type of game this team will need if they’re looking to stay afloat or make a post season push. [Ed. Note #2: Points earned by 10 different Ducks tonight]
- I actually felt hard pressed to come up with a negative this evening, but I was a little disturbed when the team found themselves struggling to clear the defensive zone a few times.
- The woman who was in front of me leaving the game wearing a #16 "Georgie" jersey. Come on lady, foul!
- The Honda Center was disgustingly empty. I get it, no one wants to pay to come see a team performing poorly, but it was very disheartening.
- The insanely super annoying young guys sitting in section 425 wearing their New Jersey Devils jerseys and chanting for them. It was odd, annoying and stupid. They weren’t even wearing Scott Niedermayer jerseys. I mean, really?
I’d like to just take a moment and enjoy this well rounded, 4-1 win over the Coyotes.