Just got back from the 3-2 win by the Ducks. Let's get right to it...
-- Jonas Hiller looked unreal. If he can see it, he can stop it. Hiller saved this game for the Ducks because in many cases, his teammates weren't helping him out (more on that later). I got the most satisfaction from watching him dart from one side of the crease to the other, protecting the far post. (Shaking fist angrily towards sky) Damn you vertigo!
-- I'm still trying to figure out how Cam Fowler fell to 12th at the draft. The so-called "Sophomore Slump" can kiss my arse.
-- When able to sneak by the Vancouver forecheck, Bobby Ryan and Corey Perry led the team in SOG on goal with 5 and 4, respectively. This is what was missing from the previous preseason games. The needed to just start throwing everything at the net.
-- Ducklings that made significant strides tonight: Patrick Maroon, Nate Guenin, and Maxime Macenauer. By the way, Mighty Max had 6 face-off wins and 1 loss. Best on the team that night.
-- Ryan, Perry, and Ryan Getzlaf still look off to me as a group. There would be instances where they would struggle to get out of their own zone because Vancouver had them pinned in. I'm not looking too far into this, though. I'd rather have them play at 75% now and turn it on in the regular season.
-- Andrew Gordon has become the darling of the pre-season. Today he wasn't so sharp. I didn't really notice him on the ice until the middle of the second period. He took some marginal penalties, one within the last couple minutes of the game, later leading to 3-on-5 after a Guenin penalty. Gordon was later adorably frank by tweeting:
another good win today by the boys! Note to self: when trying to make the team as a penalty killer...stop taking penalties
-- I'm up in the air with Andrew Cogliano. I think he's still getting his head wrapped around our system. Although, I do like him with Devante Smith-Pelly and Andrew Gordon. The wingers are the checking part of that possible Grind Line the Ducks need, and Cogs is able to speed through the holes those two create.
-- It looks like the referees are going to be calling "boarding" on anything remotely resembling a head into the boards shot. Twice in the game against Los Angeles, 4'3" (approx.) Jason Blake was called for boarding twice. Tonight there were two iffy boarding calls. In a player safety view, it's great to reinforce that dangerous plays will not be tolerated. The difficult part is that the refs, in some cases, are required to make snap judgments as to if the player loses an edge or was legitmately driven into the boards. From what I've seen in the preseason, they're going to err on the side of caution and call the penalty. For a physical team like the Ducks, this is a tricky area.
-- The penalty kill misses Toni Lydman (more on that tomorrow).
-- A part of the reason that Hiller was so vulnerable last season was because he faced a hell of a lot of shots. The first hand full of games in 2010-11 he was averaging 40-ish shots a night. Tonight he faced 33 and stopped 31. His teammates need to get in there and help him out. They should be thanking their lucky stars he's healthy again, and should do everything they can to keep him that way.
-- Getzlaf led the team with 3 giveaways. Just another day at the office.
-- The four d-bags that sat in front of me and my friend Kelly at the game. Pretty sure they thought they were the guys from Entourage. Kelly had the best line of the night after the boys tried to hit on the Power Players, "Smell that? It's cigarettes and their parents' disappointment."