Best: Power-play Comes Up BIG
The Anaheim Ducks came into the game against the Calgary Flames having gone 2/4 with the extra man in their previous two meetings. Having been hot and cold all season, last night's game seemed to be the perfect time for them to start some momentum. Anaheim ended up converting on all three of their power-play chances getting goals from all the usual suspects: Hampus Lindholm, Corey Perry, and Sami Vatanen. While no one expects the power play to continue a pace like that, the Ducks showed what can happen when they are clicking with the extra man, and it was key in the win.
Worst: Penalty Kill Suddenly A Weakness
Anaheim's penalty kill has been at the top of the league the entire season. While a few bad games is nothing to panic about, the Ducks have not looked nearly as strong defending against opposition power plays as of late. After giving up a power play goal in each of their last three games, Anaheim proceeded to let in two goals in the first period while down a man. I don't think it is something to panic about yet, but the sudden crack in the armor needs to be patched soon.
Best: Contributions Up And Down The Lineup
While the Ducks did make it harder on themselves with the four goals they gave up to Calgary, the entire team showed up in the offensive end to secure this win. It's pretty rare to be able to say that two thirds of your skaters made the scoresheet on a given night, but Anaheim had that last night. The Ducks had five different goal scorers with Mike Santorelli being the only one with two goals. Even the blue liners were contributing as all six defenseman recorded at least a point. This kind of top-to-bottom offensive contribution is what has made Anaheim dangerous in years past. If the Ducks can keep up this depth scoring they will be really hard to defend come playoff time.
Worst: Parking the Bus
Anaheim continued their worrying trend of defending leads entirely in their zone last night. An early third period goal from Santorelli gave the Ducks a two-goal cushion to work with. Afterwards they went almost entirely into their dump-and-change strategy. Anaheim recorded only nine shot attempts in the third period, while Calgary had 20. The even more worrying statistic is that Anaheim had zero shot attempts in the last twelve minutes of the game. That means that Anaheim gave Calgary an entire twelve minutes to take as many shots as they wanted to try and close the two-goal gap. I understand that Anaheim has greatly improved their defense over the last 2 months, but this strategy of pulling back and parking the bus in front of their net is going to come back to bite them eventually. Better teams like LA, San Jose, or Dallas will take better advantage of all that free time in the offensive zone. If Anaheim wants to beat teams at the top of the West they're going to need to start defending leads from the offensive zone.
Best: Chasing Jonas Hiller
Forcing Calgary coach Bob Hartley to pull Jonas Hiller after the fourth Anaheim goal felt really good. Now don't get me wrong, I don't hold any ill will towards Hiller for leaving Anaheim- I think it was the best move for the Ducks going forward and I hope it works out for Hiller in the end. But, as it is with players going against their former teams, I always want the Ducks to do well against their former players. Hiller has had a rough time against Anaheim since he left and least night was no different. Three of the four goals against him were not his fault due to Ducks skaters blocking out the sun in front of him, but seeing him move to the bench does give me the slightest bit of satisfaction knowing the Ducks are doing well without him.
3) Hampus Lindholm
Hampus Lindholm continues to show us just how much he wants a big payday this summer. Another beautiful power play goal from the young blueliner along with stellar defensive play and good possession numbers (52.9% SAT) shows he is continuing to blossom into a stellar two-way player. Lindholm led the team in time on ice against Calgary as well. If Hampus keeps this up, the 6 years/$6.5 mil that Jacob Trouba is asking for may be right up Lindholm's alley too.
2) Jiri Hudler
A guy who always seems to show up against the Ducks, Jiri Hudler was again a thorn in their side last night. Hudler assisted on Johnny Gaudreau's opening goal and then recorded late goal in both the first and second periods to really put the pressure on Anaheim. Hudler was dangerous all game as the Flames had 58.5% of the shot attempts with him on the ice. If Anaheim wants to win their last two games against Calgary they're going to need to shut down Hudler.
1) Mike Santorelli
Mike Santorelli continues to be worth every penny the Ducks are paying him. One of Bob Murray's bargain signings over the summer, Santorelli scored two goals against Calgary in just under nine minutes of ice time. Those two goals push him to nine goals and 14 points on the season. While those numbers may not blow anyone away, the fact that he has 14 points while averaging just 10:12 of ice time per game over 50 games means he is making the most of his shifts. While his 15% shooting percentage will most likely regress, Santorelli's production cannot be overstated and he was key in another Ducks win.