Best: Fourth Line Bangers
The Ducks final line was a scrappy bunch in this game. Jared Boll even had a shot on goal, what a pleasant surprise. Nearly every shift was simple hustle and physical play from them. Boll was clearly getting under the skin of Cody McLeod out there and the bangers managed to cause some havoc in Nashville’s zone. Usually Chris Wagner is down there but thanks to Rakell sitting, Wags was bumped up to the third line. He’s still a great representation of the fourth line however, and that man scored the lone goal of the game for Anaheim by going to the net.
Worst: The Fans
I really hope you readers are the types of Ducks fans who show up on time for a Western Conference Final game. I know game one was a late start and all, but this game was on a Saturday and the Halos weren’t even playing across the street. It’s the WCF! Be excited and show up! It filled up and all, but Anaheim can do better. I’m sick of hearing twitter complain about our fans so just show up on time and cheer loud. Spread the word.
Rak City was a late scratch and that hurt. The Ducks certainly missed his firepower out there. As RC reminded us, Major Eaves is still out so there’s another downer. That one hurts specifically for the power play. And of course, John Gibson. From the replays, it looks like Gibby’s own turnover was the very play that hurt him. He was much slower after that play and eventually left. Bernier wasn’t horrible, and we can thank him for being so solid during the regular season when Gibson was hurt. But he wasn’t perfect in Game 5. The eventual game winner was a prime example of a lack of rebound control.
Worst: Not Capitalizing
As much as injuries suck, it’s a poor excuse to be given as to why the Ducks lost this one. Mike Fisher AND Johansen were out. The Ducks already had the advantage down the middle, this game was supposed to be where Anaheim took advantage of a depleted lineup and dominated in the center position. It was so bad that Nashville was winning key face-offs over them. The Ducks had a GREAT opportunity to be within one game of the Cup final. Now they’re headed to a rowdy arena facing the golf course. Also, if you’re going to dump the puck in, go high glass or loft it into the corners, quit letting Pekka Rinne play the biscuit.
Best: It’s Not Over
That’s a lot of negatives to be thrown out there at once. So here’s the glimmer of hope I can give: it’s a best of 7 series. The Ducks have been overall a tremendously tough team mentally in these playoffs when it comes to responding. It’s a tough task at hand but they have won in Nashville before, and the curse of Game 7 is snapped. Johansen will still be out for certain so the Ducks have another chance to exploit them up the middle. Believe.
3. Brandon Montour - Looked so silky and played smart
2. Pekka Rinne - Plays the puck like a violin, even when it’s outside the trapezoid
1. Pontus Aberg - the GWG