Worst: Parade to the Penalty Box
Anaheim took a whopping SEVEN penalties against Vancouver (Anaheim ranked second in the NHL in times shorthanded at 136 only trailing Calgary ). And while you can argue that the tripping penalty against Cogliano was just a terrible call, I don’t think you can really say the same about the other six. Anaheim was understandably tired of playing last night in Calgary, but this sort of undisciplined play will get Anaheim blown out night in and night out. Anaheim’s 15th ranked penalty kill hasn’t proven this year that it’s something the Ducks can really lean on. Against teams with better than a 14% conversion rate on the powerplay, the Ducks will give up 3 or 4 powerplay goals if they’re taking this many penalties consistently.
Best: Rakell just keeps Rakell’ing
Rickard Rakell potted his 16th goal of the season as he just continues to play well. Now on pace for 42 goals this year, Rakell has been a shining light for this team ever since he came back. Someone I consider to be a core piece in the future of this franchise, Rakell is having a breakout year right now and is my favorite player to watch on a nightly basis. Keep it up, Raks.
Worst: Perry is Snake-bitten
While I felt for a while that Perry was trying to do too much to score goals, he has seemed to simplify his game again in the last couple weeks. On Perry’s best chance of the night, the former-Hart Trophy winner kept it simple again when a puck just laid down in front of the Vancouver net. With Ryan Miller seemingly down-and-out, Corey just simply chipped the puck over him for a sure goal. Well, at least until Miller snagged the shot out of midair with his glove, stuffing Perry’s attempt. Seven goals on the year is an abysmal number for a guy who has scored over 30 goals six times in his career, and zero goals in his last eight games really has Perry struggling. While he has kept his point total up with his 22 assists on the season, Pears could really use a bounce here sooner rather than later.
Best & Worst: OT
If I’m being honest, I actually didn’t really have a problem with Anaheim’s play in the overtime period. Usually there is a glaring mistake or misplay (read “Getzlaf drop pass”) that we can easily point to that explains how the Ducks lost that OT game. And while you can definitely point to the Fowler rush as the play that “lost” the overtime for Anaheim, I wouldn’t necessarily call it a mistake. Yes, Fowler was at the end of a long shift on the back end of back-to-backs. Yes, he could have tried to curl back, settle the puck, and let his teammates change. But, I don’t really think there is anyone out there who can say they wouldn’t have done what Cam did in that situation. He was so close to scoring on the previous rush and with the pressure of this team’s overtime ineptitude weighing on him, he took a chance. Cam wanted to be the guy to break this curse and it didn’t work out but I don’t blame him.
Anaheim needs to either figure out how to win in overtime or figure how not to get there in the first place.
3. Rickard Rakell
I think I said enough earlier, but Rakell just continues to impress. A goal on the night and consistent fast-paced play makes Rakell must-watch hockey.
2. John Gibson
I thought Gibson really battled all game. Carlyle decided to stick with Gibson again in the back-to-back, and I think Gibson proved his coach made the right decision. Gibby made timely saves all game and you really can’t blame him for the three that got in.
1. Loui Eriksson
The Canucks first goal on the night and a perfect pass to assist on the game-winner. I don’t think there’s much more I need to say.