1. As of this writing, 29 teams are looking up at the Ducks in the standings, and Jaromir Jagr thinks Ryan Getzlaf has something to do with that.
Jaromir Jagr said to him Ryan Getzlaf is the MVP this season, so he's expecting a very tough game Friday against the Ducks.— Dan Rosen (@drosennhl) December 19, 2013
Jagr is a one-time Hart Trophy winner himself, in 1998-99, and a three-time Ted Lindsay Award (called the Lester B. Pearson Award when he won it), in 1998-99, 1999-00, and 2005-06. He and every other player will vote on the Lindsay at the end of the season.
2. The Palmieri family needs to move to Orange County. In the four games this season that have taken place either in New Jersey or just across a river from New Jersey, Kyle Palmieri has scored five goals and seven points, including this absolute beauty that is inexplicably labeled a wrist shot on NHL.com's boxscore. Trouble is, the Ducks won't visit those cities again until next season, barring an improbable Stanley Cup matchup. Like many goal scorers, Palmieri is streaky, but as long as the rough patches don't last as long as the most recent one did — 18 games without a goal — streaky is fine. Unless he continues to play alongside Getzlaf and Corey Perry. In that case, he has to score, and he has to score a lot. Which brings me to Dustin Penner. The big man had one point in six games before being scratched against the New York Islanders. I'm a big fan of Bruce Boudreau's apparent philosophy regarding that coveted top line position: If you don't produce, someone else will take your place. Luckily for Boudreau, his general manager has provided him with more than enough capable wingers, which allows this philosophy to be a practical one.
3. With Jakob Silfverberg's return, the forward corps is finally healthy. Silfverberg, who scored in his first game back, has seen his ice time increase from 12:48 to 15:36 to 18:36 in his three games since rejoining the lineup, and has been shuffled around plenty, playing with centers Saku Koivu, Mathieu Perreault, and Getzlaf in that span.
4. Now only Luca Sbisa, Sheldon Souray, and Viktor Fasth remain sidelined. When the two defensemen do return, things will get interesting. Boudreau already scratched Sami Vatanen and Hampus Lindholm for a game apiece last week in order to give Mark Fistric some playing time, and nobody who watched those games can say Fistric didn't earn it. It won't be long until the Ducks have nine NHL caliber blue liners, and Boudreau will have to make tough choices every single game. That is, unless Bob Murray makes a much tougher, but potentially more rewarding (or devastating) choice before March 5.
5. Andrew Cogliano is awesome. He still can't pick a corner to save his life, but he creates chances for himself and his linemates almost every shift, and I'd rather see that than somebody who can pick a corner not creating chances for anyone. Even though he had three assists against the Red Wings, it was in the Devils game that he really caught my eye, turning nothing into something multiple times, at even strength and shorthanded.