For nearly nine minutes all eyes were on Ryan Getzlaf, stapled to the bench by head coach Bruce Boudreau after his second unseemly turnover in as many games allowed Ottawa to equalize in the second period. Then it was his perfect pass to Shea Theodore, and the second line picking their captain up with a barrage of late offense to help the Anaheim Ducks claim their third win of the current season-long home stand.
Ducks: Wednesday, January 13 vs Ottawa (4-1 W) "Ducks Depth Scoring Shows Up Late, Sinks Senators 4-1"
Stars: Saturday, January 9 vs Minnesota (1-2 L) "Dallas Stars Defeated By Minnesota Wild 2-1, Off Until Friday"
The beck and call has gone out for secondary scoring in Anaheim, as Corey Perry remains the only player on the thirtieth-ranked offense in the league with double-digit goals, yet all three of Anaheim's even strength goals against the Senators came from outside the top line. Carl Hagelin and Jakob Silfverberg each had a goal and an assist, with each reaching the scoresheet for the second time in three games. Considering Hagelin has dealt with as much as an eight-game scoreless streak, and Silfverberg a ten-game drought this season, it's encouraging to see the potential to start a string of success considering Ryan Kesler has picked up his game since 2016 rolled around with four goals and an assist in the six games.
As part of the Ducks ascent into being one of the best defensive teams in the league (for even strength now third at a 53.9 shot attempts percentage, fifth at 52.4 for scoring chance percentage, and fifth at 53.1 high danger percentage), every defender with the exception of Cam Fowler now has a positive SAT%. After Fowler's 49.47 mark, Kevin Bieksa has improved to 51.55 at five-on-five, which considering the chasm into which his early season number fell speaks to the team turnaround as a whole. Still, the lack of finish has the team with just five players at the break even mark for better in even strength goals-for percentage. It's the mantra for this team for so much of the season- if the attempts and chances differentials remain tipped in Anaheim's favor, eventually those have to lead to goals, right? They'll likely need them against tonight's opponent.
Maybe it's the Chicago Blackhawks and the ridiculous run they've been in of late (don't look now, but it's nine-straight wins for the defending champs) to move into a points-wise tie atop the Central despite the Stars having two games in hand. Maybe it's Dallas not having played since last Saturday, and when they have in calendar year 2016 they've sputtered at 1-3-1. The trademark offense that's league tops, averaging 3.34 goals per game, has been held to two or fewer in four of those five outings in 2016. The green, silver and black wrecking crew that ran roughshod over the league with nine wins in October, and 19 through their first two months finally seems to be facing some adversity.
Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin are as terrifying a one-two punch in the league, while Patrick Sharp has slid in nicely to add a team-third 16 goals. On the back end John Klingberg has made general manager Jim Nill look every bit the genius as he was initially lauded for locking up the 22-year old Swede at a $4.25 mil. cap hit for the first of a seven-year deal this offseason, pouring in 38 points from the blue line and being one of the big names in the 'All Star Snub' discussion. With a top-three power play and a penalty kill clicking at over 80% efficiency, despite being recently diminished, Dallas no doubt represents one of the greatest tests the defense-centric Ducks will face.
Two hours before face off we'll have the game thread up, featuring the full Stat Pack, and of course your Numbers For Nerds.