Two games without Kevin Bieska, two wins. There were still some overdue fixes that will definitely need to be tidied up should the Ducks make the post season but overall this game felt like a turning point. It had bouts of emotional rivalry despite the teams seeing each other so little and it featured goals from long overdue sources.
The players said it themselves post game - it was a little bit of longtime rivalry and a little bit of getting very close to crunch time and stress levels were high.
There are just 10 games left and 6-7ish of those are against teams either in a playoff position or fighting for one. Anaheim absolutely has to get up for each and everyone of these games - ironically the ones I am most anxious about are those where the Ducks traditionally take their opponent for granted. They have 3 of those upcoming, Edmonton, Vancouver (again) and the final game in Arizona.
There is also one last freeway face-off in there - just because this final stretch wasn’t exciting enough. Strap in folks!
Best and Worst
Worst - The powerplay is still far too predictable and/or directionless. Anaheim is currently 23rd in the league with the man advantage. The 3rd lowest ranked team in a playoff position, only Calgary and Columbus are worst. It is frustrating to think that all they need to do is overload the right side then flick it to Montour for the one timer whenever they can get an opening. I guess that is easier said than done I guess though...
Best - Scoring spread. Welcome back to the 2nd and 3rd lines! Those were well earned goals and showcased some good chemistry among all 3 elements of those lines. Ritchies goal in particular was brilliant - all speed and hustle from Rico, Kase and then Ritchie. Kesler’s goal was vintage Kesler but Cogliano had been setting up he and Silfverberg all night. It shouldn't come as a surprise that Cogs and Silf had the best Corsi numbers among forwards and it wasn't even close.
Worst - The Fourth Line. Appeared to play ok but were actually kind of brutal. Chimera and Kelly had the worst Corsi numbers and Grants goal actually came as a result of playing with Cogs and Silf when Kesler was resting after a powerplay. I realise Wagner and Shaw were not doing much better but changing it up this late in the season is just... ehhh?
Best - Marcus Petterson. Played a quiet, unassuming, mistake-free game and his numbers showed that. He was 5th best in Corsi For with 57.89. Why Carlyle preferred to play an injured Kevin Bieska over those numbers is still one of the many mysteries in a season that has played out like a series of LOST but hey, welcome back Marcus. Please stay in the lineup.
Three Stars of the Game
3. Corey Perry - scored a goal, threw the mits and was his usual pest self. Oh and having that telepathic connection with Getzlaf is also good too.
2. Jakob Silfverberg - had a 2 point night with two helpers, defintely had a jump to his game and was brilliant defensively. If his line can get clicking on this final stretch, they will cause a bunch of headaches for opposing teams.
- John Gibson - Had no chance on the Green goal, thanks to whichever winger left him unmarked and similarly on the Nyquist goal thanks to Beuch being to slow to pick him up. He stood tall to all over Wings chances - including five powerplays. He is 2nd overall in Save Percentage for goaltenders that have played over 50 games with a .926 and is 5th overall in GAA with 2.47.
Next up are the Devils AKA Ducks-East on Sunday 6pm at Honda Center.