1. John Gibson instead of Jonas Hiller? Well, it worked, so I'm not going to say anything else about it. Bruce Boudreau has established himself as a coach who makes seemingly wonky goaltending decisions, but this year they've worked out. Whether it's naming a controversial starter or switching goalies at an unexpected moment in a game, he tends to make what can only be seen in retrospect as the right call.
2. I'm not sure why it took so long for Boudreau to call up Sami Vatanen. The only thing that matters now is that he's here to stay (Right?!?) and the Ducks have themselves a tie series. To be completely fair, I ought to bring up the fact that Vatanen committed some Bryan Allen-esque turnovers and icings, especially in the second period of Game Four. But throughout both games, he jumped up into the play shift after shift and did everything he could to get open off the rush and create scoring chances. In other words, he played like Sami Vatanen.
3. Patrick Maroon deserves a lot of credit for what he's done in the second half of the regular season and the playoffs, particularly on the power play. He is exactly the kind of player Corey Perry needs on the man advantage, because his net presence allows Perry to position himself a little bit farther away from the crease where he has more space to show off those beautiful hands. Likewise, Vatanen is exactly the kind of player Ryan Getzlaf needs on the power play, because his point presence allows Getzlaf to move down to the half wall, where he is most effective. Like so:
4. The Ducks did not allow any even-strength goals against in those two games at Staples Center, and they did it the same way they did at Dodgers Stadium in January: with a collapsing, shell-like defense that blocked a ton of shots and didn't worry too much about offense once they had a lead. This is a scary way to play, and it doesn't work unless you have players that are willing to sacrifice their bodies and a goaltender who is just awesome. Right now, the Ducks have both of those things, so if they can grab an early lead in Game Five, expect to see more of the same. Well, maybe a little less because Bourdeau will be able to negotiate more favorable matchups, but not much less.
5. Daniel Winnik killing penalties is fun to watch. His commitment to staying on his man, especially in transition, is as good as any I've seen. His even strength line with Rickard Rakell and Kyle Palmieri ended up with the best possession numbers of any of the four lines while playing against the weakest competition, and neither of those things should be surprising.
6. Getzlaf has been an absolute beast all playoffs long, perhaps never more so than in Game Four. A vintage effort from the best captain this team could have asked for.
Last year, he seemed to use up most of his awesomeness in the first half of the Detroit series, so he didn't make that much of an impact in Games Six and Seven. I'd be lying if I said that isn't in the back of my head right now as I think about the second half of this series.
7. I realize most of you are forced to endure NBC's coverage of this series and the playoffs in general. For those of you like myself who are lucky enough to have access to TSN's coverage, I hope you appreciate what a treat it is to listen to Ray Ferraro. He's the best color analyst in the business. Maybe not the most entertaining — that title goes to Daryl Reaugh — but Ferraro gives the game and its players a more honest and nuanced treatment that anyone else.