While the Anaheim Ducks current point streak is up to a season-high six games, one can't help but feel like for the second game in a row the second point got away in overtime. Presenting the Best and Worst of the Ducks and Edmonton Oilers:
Best: Corey Perry, Soon To Be Second Greatest Goal-Scorer In Franchise History
After a slow start, Perry has shaken it off in a big way to vault to the top of the team's scoring list. Seven points (four goals) in the last five games, and nine points in the last eight has made the one assist over the first eight games become and ever fainter memory disappearing in to the rear view. This was one of those games where he was clearly buzzing, and the crowd could sense it too.
While this moment was coming, it's nice to see the player who is so roundly despised around the league continue to show that not only is he a world class annoyance, but he's also one of the greatest goal scorers of his generation. Only 14 currently active players have reached the 300 number, with just Sidney Crosby sitting above him having played fewer games.
Plus, it's also nice to know Perry won't sign a way below market value contract with Colorado next year. That's something one of the other guys who hit 300 in a Mighty Ducks sweater did.
Worst: A Sequel No One Wanted
So one game removed from Anaheim blowing an early lead, and going in to three-on-three overtime only to lose to a younger, speedier team, what happens in the next one? People say Hollywood is out of ideas.
It's becoming abundantly more clear that these Ducks are not particularly well suited for the new pond hockey extra session. For all the skill and size that Anaheim has amongst their top forwards, their lack of speed in the open ice has been put on display for all to see in these past two extra times. With puck possession as a priority, it hasn't been fun seeing Ryan Getzlaf casually drop it (and the game) away and then future near-seven million dollar man Ryan Kesler struggle against the Oilers quick youngsters in back-to-back games.
Best: Ricky Kinda Works On The Top Line?
Sure, Rickard Rakell was asked to do something he hasn't done since being a Plymouth Whaler. Yet for all the weirdness of seeing #67 skating on the wing alongside #15 and #10, it kind of almost worked? Two great passing plays to set up Perry tallies harken back training camp where the two skated together on the same line, and his added strength over the offseason helped Rakell not seem entirely out of place in working the low cycle...
Worst: ...But No, That's Not Where He's Most Useful
...Still, it seemed like a move designed to get Rakell back in to the lineup as quickly as possible after having missed the last three games due to an upper body injury. HockeyStats.ca had Rakell with the worst even strength shot attempt differential amongst forwards, and the adjustment in game going from wing to center for a couple shifts were awkward, especially when Teddy Purcell managed to slip behind him in overtime.
The other major problem with 'Rakell: The Winger' is it throws the rest of the lineup out of optimization. Mike Santorelli has to play out of position as fourth line center, instead of being a forechecking winger. Shawn Horcoff is asked to dig out of defensive zone starts as the third line center. Patrick Maroon, a left wing who has lead to better production with the Twins than almost any other left wing since 07-08 is stuck down on the fourth line as a bash brother with Chris Wagner (and an awesomely ridiculous mustache).
Perhaps this experiment will continue, perhaps it's just a stopgap move until Rakell is healthier and Jiri Sekac returns from his ankle injury to reunite with Ricky and Chris Stewart.
Worst: Points Left On The Table
A slow start makes for standings-watching much more soon than normal, especially considering the number of teams the Ducks will have to leapfrog to claim the final guaranteed Pacific Division playoff spot. The season is still relatively young, nearing the quarter pole, but dropping the extra point to both a team above (Arizona) and below (Edmonton) stings for the moment.
3) Anders Nilsson
It really would be so Oilers that despite the ballyhooed offseason move to bring in another backup from a competitive organization, that the big goalie who spent last season in the KHL ends up becoming the better option. 34 saves, left a lot of rebounds, but got the job done, and made the smart restart that lead to the winner in OT.
2) Corey Perry
300 goals as a Duck, two in the game. Sure seems like it's fair to say he's back.
1) Leon Draisaitl
With a pharmaceutical-sounding last name, Draisaitl has been just what the doctor ordered since being called up by the Oilers in late October. Had a hand in all three of the regulation Edmonton goals (PPG and two assists), putting up a multi-point night for the fourth time in six games, and despite appearing in just seven games is now the Oilers fifth-leading points producer.