Best: Another Come From Behind Win
These victories are fun aren’t they? I mean I may be a bit of a masochist here calling thrilling, drive-you-to-drink, blood pressure raising, nervous wreck games fun. But we’re Anaheim Ducks fans. Pretty sure being on GMBM’s Wild Ride was in the terms and conditions section no one read.
It was the Ducks 6th come-from-behind victory in the playoffs this year, most out of the qualifiers. This team has a burning intensity in its eyes and seems to play some of its best hockey when many seem to write them off.
While it would be nice to get a lead early and hold it, you can’t really argue with the results so far.
Worst: For The Love Of Holy Hell Stop Saying You Need To Be Better In 1st Periods And Just Do It
I don’t know about you, but I’m getting pretty sick of hearing Carlyle and the players talk about how they need to get a fast start. Sure, I get that they are asked by reporters about it all the time, but there seems to be no effort to try and make it a reality.
The Ducks are a very talented team and have proven that they have what it takes to get to the Stanley Cup Finals. The problem is that they only remind us of that for 40 minutes a game.
Look, I get I’m not out there on the ice with them. I recognize that this is one of the most difficult jobs in the world. But if you can put on a world-class performance for 40 minutes a night, why can’t you ratchet your play up a bit for an extra 20?
You are professional athletes. You are competing for the greatest trophy in all of sports.
Back up your words.
Best: Beating Nashville At Their Own Game
While the young Anaheim blue line has gotten it’s share of praise, they seem to be consistently underrated compared to the Nashville blue line.
I get it: the Nashville defense is more veteran and has more star power than the Ducks, but last night, Anaheim vaulted itself back into the conversation of best blue line in the NHL by beating the Predators at their own game.
Nashville’s defense is known to be extremely mobile and active. They can take potentially dangerous scoring chances, shut them down, then create a rush up the ice before the opposing team knows what hit them. They’ve already done it to the Ducks a few times this series.
But last night, it was the Anaheim blueliners turn. Ducks defensemen had 6 points last night and had a few more dangerous scoring chances created by the young defense. Nashville clearly hasn’t seen a defense as fast and as aggressive as the Ducks this postseason, and thus did not have an answer.
Want an example? Just check out this gorgeous defensive play and transition from Hampus Lindholm.
Hampus Lindholm is the master of turning situations where the Ducks look vulnerable defensively into something positive going the other way pic.twitter.com/G2YCj2P6zw— Dimitri Filipovic (@DimFilipovic) May 15, 2017
Worst: Talented Yet Still Inexperienced Pieces
You really can’t call the Ducks defense inexperienced as a whole. Cam Fowler has 494 games played. Sami Vatanen has 265. Hampus Lindholm has 302 (and he’s only 23 wat?!).
However, there are inexperienced pieces such as Shea Theodore and Brandon Montour. As talented as they are, they still have some development to go through. These guys are very often finding themselves starting at the numbers of an opposing player on a break or an odd-man rush due to poor pinches or otherwise. The Johansen opening goal was a perfect example of this when Brandon Montour led a rush to the Nashville net only to see the puck turned over and fed to the centerman streaking behind the defense.
They’ve obviously been a huge positive for the Ducks in the playoffs so far. But they still have plenty of room to grow.
Best: Kesler Bought A Vacation Home In Ryan Johansen’s head
Ryan Kesler has built a reputation as a pest that is extremely infuriating to play against; especially against a team’s stars. Just ask Connor McDavid. Or Sean Monahan.
Kesler has been this way since he first broke into the league with Vancouver. However, it seems as though some people aren’t used to that style of play. Check out what Johansen had to say about Kesler last night.
Full Ryan Johansen quote about Ryan Kesler’s play. pic.twitter.com/aOgjFeI9ke— Dan Greenspan (@DanGreenspan) May 15, 2017
Anze Kopitar, Jonathan Towes, and McDavid (among plenty of others) will probably tell you that if this is the way you’re reacting to Ryan Kesler, then you’ve already lost.
Kesler already knows about this quote. You better believe it’s fired him up because he knows its working.
And that’s when he plays his best hockey.
3) Ryan Getzlaf
2) Nick Ritchie
1) Ondrej Kase