Best: Frederik Andersen
The Anaheim netminder has easily been the best player on the team this season by a long shot. He hasn't won the Ducks any games yet unfortunately, but he at least deserves a couple of W's. A 1.57 goals against average isn't too shabby, albeit it's more of a team stat. His save percentage, however, which is a much more accurate tool to measure the caliber of a goalie's play, is sitting sky high for the moment at a very impressive .947. The latter is probably not going to end up being sustainable, but as soon as those goals start coming (and they will), Freddie's strong play, should he continue it, will give his team that peace of mind that the players in front of him haven't been providing.
Worst: Avalanche Defense - An Overview
Here's a few fun facts about the Colorado Avalanche defense:
- They allowed 14 goals in their first three games coming into tonight
- In his last 51 NHL games, Reto Berra had one shutout
- They allowed 35 shots to get to their goalie tonight
The Ducks failed to score even once on this defense, one that is used to surrendering a lot of shots, and subsequently, a lot of goals. As a result, they usually aren't very good at racking up shutouts.
Best: Sample Size
I've got a little something to tell all you Chicken Littles out there that will hopefully put your concerned minds at ease.
The Ducks still have 78 more games to play. This means that it's technically still possible for Anaheim to finish 78-3-1.
While it's obviously very unlikely that this will come to fruition, the point behind the absurdly optimistic scenario is that 95% of the season remains in front of them. Ask yourself honestly, would you rather watch this team flounder in the first games of the regular season, or the last ones? If you went with the latter answer, ask the same question to any player who was a part of the 2014 St. Louis Blues playoff "run" and see if they agree with you. (They won't.)
If I were to give my general consensus on the first four losses, here are my very brief summaries:
@ San Jose: Overall solid performance, but Martin Jones is off to an unreal start.
vs. Vancouver: If not for one unbelievably fluky goal in regulation, Ducks win 1-0.
vs. Arizona: ok that was bad
vs. Colorado: ughhh
0-3-1 is not a record to be proud of, but these problems that the Ducks had tonight haven't been completely corrupting this team for the entirety of the season. Two ugly losses, admittedly, but there is also one very hard-fought one that is nothing to get bent out of shape over and one that probably should have been a win. Yes, it's concerning that the high-octane Ducks offense has scored one goal in four games. It's an issue that they aren't connecting on passes or handling the puck. But four games into a season is not the time to wave the white flag on their Stanley Cup hopes, or for some of the extremists, a playoff berth. Everything will be alright.
Worst: But Let's Talk About It Anyway
The Ducks' offense has garnered a reputation for being one of the deadliest offenses in the NHL, which makes it weird for the fans to see them at the bottom of the league in terms of goals per game at an atrocious 0.25 production rate. The well-known power play unit has been suffering as a result (shocker), having gone oh-fer on 11 attempts on the season. It's truly a mystery why an offensive unit who carries names like Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Ryan Kesler, and Carl Hagelin haven't been able to solve any goaltender that they come across, but if anyone has a solution to the snake-bitten ketchup bottle that lies in front of them, I'm sure they'd appreciate if you cc: Bruce Boudreau. Speaking of Bruce, his seat has to be getting a little toasty right about now. If any of you are in or around Las Vegas and have a vested interest in the coach's future, for better or worse, this is for your reference.
Odds on first #NHL coach to be fired (via bodog.ca) Julien 3/2 Sutter 2/1 Richards 5/1 Johnston 11/1 Ruff 6/1 Peters 7/1 Boudreau 11/1— Yahoo Sports NHL (@YahooSportsNHL) October 15, 2015
Best: New Threads
Nothing wrong with ending on a high note, right? A new jersey featuring the Mighty Duck will almost always be okay in my book. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing it more throughout the season... and in my closet.
3) Third Jersey + Alums
For those of you who may have missed it, the Ducks' social media accounts were posting pictures throughout the game of former players rocking the new jersey. Although it had nothing to do with the product on the ice, it was cool to see guys like Andy McDonald showing some love to their former team. Photos can be seen all together here.
2) Frederik Andersen
This guy deserves a win more than anyone else on the team. Freddie is doing all he can to keep the Ducks alive night in and night out, but there's not much else that can be done when the forwards can't score. Both goals he allowed were very much stoppable shots, but in spite of that, he was still one of the best guys in orange on the ice all night.
1) Reto Berra
As a goalie enthusiast who lives in Colorado, I've bagged on Berra a lot since he joined the Avs while holding on to the idea that Calvin Pickard should be with the big club instead. I do have to give the guy credit where credit is due, though. He earned that 35-save shutout tonight, and although he wasn't constantly getting bombarded with dangerous shots, he made every single save that he was supposed to, which is the most you can ask for out of a goalie.