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Round 2 - Game 4 - Ducks @ Oilers BEST/WORST: Deuces

Game 4 was a microcosm of this series so far.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Anaheim Ducks at Edmonton Oilers Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Best: The Captain Is Captaining

Holy hell, Ryan Getzlaf. I want this to be a mini love-letter to you. You have been criticized in the past for not showing up in playoff games (even though your 112 points in 112 career games refutes that). While you have been a contributor, you’ve taken your game to a whole new level. A level many people always suspected you had, but hadn’t really shown consistently until now. This game could go down in Ducks lore as one of the greatest you have every played.

The way the pace of play slows to exactly the speed you want every single time you hit the ice is magnificent to watch. The way you are completely taking over the ice and creating something out of nothing this series is reserved for some of the all-time greats.

From your incredible touch pass to Rakell last night to your absolutely lethal shot that you decided to finally, after a 12-year career, break out and machine gun all over the damn offensive zone, you sir, have risen to the occasion and given Ducks fans something they can rest their hopes comfortably on.

You’re easily one of the early Conn Smythe front-runners, buddy. Let’s make it happen.

Worst: 35-Minute Effort

At this point I’m really not sure what it would take to get this team to play a full effort 60 minute game. It seems time and time again this team takes a nap for one period before realizing they have a hockey game to play and turning it up. I think this tweet from staff writer Felix Sicard sums it up perfectly:

Can you imagine if this team played the entire game at the same level they played the 2nd period? They’d instantly be up there with the Penguins for favorites to win the Stanley Cup.

Best: Randy Carlyle

Even as Anaheim Calling’s resident optimist, if you had told me at the beginning of the season that I’d be giving a best to Randy Carlyle, I would have told you to get lost. Carlyle has proven to be exactly what Bob Murray rehired him to be: a no-nonsense coach who brings a level of motivation and accountability to a veteran team in dire need of it. Many people (including myself) were skeptical that the Ducks could come back from arguably their worst period of the playoffs in the 1st. However, that completely turned around with a mixture of veterans dominating play and great matchups and personnel decisions that paid off many times over.

The brilliant set play from Game 3? The decision to have Jakob Silfverberg with Getzlaf and Rakell to start OT before the scorching hot winger ended the game thanks to some incredible offensive positioning? [I have been corrected by jrudolph91 that these were both mid-change happenings and not Carlyle decisions. I stand by my RC overall point, however!]

Good one, Randy.

Worst: Special Teams Not Cutting It

Just when it seemed like the Ducks had it figured out, they go back and take a skate blade to the throats of your hopes and dreams. After appearing to have finally figured out their penalty killing woes in Game 3, Antoine Vermette took a horrible, awful, no-good, very bad infraction when he used his hand to clear a faceoff attempt. I still can’t get over how stupid that was on his part. It would lead to the tying goal with less than 2 minutes remaining by Drake Caggiula.

I wrote an article before the playoffs previewing special teams and pointed out that the commonly-held belief that penalties become rarer in the postseason just isn’t true. In fact, they have been happening at a much greater rate per 60 minutes than the regular season by quite a bit lately. As the Ducks get deeper into the playoffs, they will need to find ways to tighten up the penalty kill and be more effective on the power play in order to take advantage of the many opportunities they’ll be given on special teams.

The Ducks have been sporting a pretty terrible 73.3% when down a man in this series and are rocking an awful 13.3% on the man-advantage. Tighten it up, boys.

Best: Oh Ah Silfverberg!

For all the love Ryan Getzlaf has gotten, I’m not sure that Silfverberg has been given his fair share of recognition in the national media. The Malfoy-looking hockey god has been having almost as good of a series as the captain has had with 9 points (7G, 2A) in the playoffs so far. What’s even more astounding was his possession game last night.

The Swede controlled 65% off the shot attempts while starting in the offensive zone just 33% of the time. That’s absolutely absurd. The fact that he (and Kesler and Cogliano, who had similar numbers) dominated possession while starting so much of the game in his own zone against the Connor McDavid line is other-worldly.

Keep your grubby hands off our Swede, Vegas. 50 points to Slytherin.

3 Stars

3) John Gibson

2) Jakob Silfverberg

1) Ryan Getzlaf