Best: Putting a Bad Game Behind Them
Twenty-two hours earlier, the Ducks were just wrappeding up easily their worst game of 2016 and one of their worst of the season, a sloppy 6-2 track meet loss at the hands of the Pittsburgh Penguins. As is often the case, the best possible scenario after that kind of game is to have another one the next day, and the Ducks showed up big time in the early stages of the Philadelphia game, putting 13 shots on goal before the Flyers had 2.
Worst: Third Period Turtling
Whenever the worst part of the game is score effect, you know it was a pretty good game. As any hockey fan would have predicted, the team that was down 3-0 spent a lot of time with the puck on their sticks in the third period. If not for a few really good saves from Frederik Andersen, this game could have ended up a lot closer.
Best: Chris Stewart and the Good Folks at Wells Fargo Center
Ever noticed that away-team penalty shot goals tend to produce some of the best celebrations? It's that perfect storm of the fans being ticked off about the call, the goal scorer knowing that the fans are ticked off, and the goal scorer not having any of his teammates on the ice to mob him so he has time to strike his pose. Stewart executed perfectly here, and the goal wasn't bad either. Three for three in his career, by the way.
Worst: The Fourth Line
The line of Nate Thompson, Mike Santorelli, and Ryan Garbutt got slaughtered in the corsi department. Bruce Boudreau's recent line combinations have created three really strong lines that are each useful in their own way, but the fourth line is largely table scraps. Perhaps the eventual return of Shawn Horcoff will help a little bit. The biggest help, however, can only come in the form of Boudreau limiting their minutes.
Best: Lindholm-Manson Bounce Back
I thought Josh Manson played one of the worst games of his NHL career against the Penguins. Some of his decisions with the puck were so bad that not even his rock solid partner could help him out. Looks like that game was a fluke. The Lindholm-Manson pairing was by far the Ducks' best according to my eye test, and a quick look at War-on-ice.com this morning backed that up. These guys are good. Sure, Lindholm is better, but it's not as if we have a Vatanen-Stoner relationship on our hands. Manson usually holds his own, and that's all he has to do with a partner like Number 47.
3) Frederik Andersen
He didn't have to do much in the first half, but after Stewart made it 3-0, the Flyers put Freddie to work. A period and a half later, he picked up his sixth straight W.
2) Rickard Rakell
His pair of goals gave the Ducks a solid lead going into the second period. The first was a backhander on the power play, and the second was a beautiful wrist shot that followed a nice deceptive move right after another power play had expired.
1) Ryan Kesler
The third line center came up huge, effectively shutting down all of the Flyers' big guns all game long. Linemates Andrew Cogliano and Jakob Silfverberg also played really well, but there was no doubt Kesler was driving the bus, personally winning battles against Claude Giroux and Co. both at even strength and on the penalty kill.
Here's the puck possession stats, all at even strength, of course: