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Ducks vs Devils MORNING THOUGHTS: Keep Going Up

The Ducks are on the right path to make the playoffs, with a critical four game road trip ahead of them.

NHL: New Jersey Devils at Anaheim Ducks Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

The Anaheim Ducks took advantage of a tired New Jersey Devils team, playing a back-to-back, and got the two points they needed to jump back into a playoff spot. They came out fast, led by their captain Ryan Getzlaf, who scored the opening goal just over a minute in. They never surrendered the lead even with the Devils making a couple pushes of their own.

With five former Ducks playing with the Devils now, there were a lot of familiar faces skating inside the Honda Center last night. Some more recently traded than others, but all of them were looked at differently once the puck dropped. The Ducks knew they needed a win and made it a physical game, throwing bodies and finishing checks, trying to wear down the Devils already tired team.

Randy Carlyle has some positive things to say about how his team played. “We had a great start. That’s paramount to getting things going for us in our building. They played yesterday afternoon, so you try to take advantage of that as much as possible. We had a pretty complete game in a lot of ways.” - @hockeystatsca

A complete game indeed as the Ducks dominated the Devils in attempts for in all situations, illustrated in the chart above.

Rickard Rakell was able to score the insurance goal to deflate the Devils late push, getting a deflection on a Cam Fowler shot from the point just after the Devils scored to bring it within one. “We felt like we had control of the game. We had some good chances throughout the game and we didn’t get negative after they scored. We kept coming after them.” - Rickard Rakell.

Hampus Lindholm showed why he’s our defensive juggernaut as well. An upperbody injury in the first period took Josh Manson out of the game, forcing Lindholm to switch up pairings. This didn’t make his minutes come down however, as he logged over 27 minutes of his strong-possession game, while adding an assist on the Ducks second goal.

Best and Worst

Best - Top Line dominance. The top line of Getzlaf, Rakell, and Corey Perry has been electric the past month. Every time they come out on the ice it seems like they generate a scoring chance. It took them just over a minute to score the first goal. Rakell and Getzlaf added to it on the powerplay in the third, and Rakell capped it off with a goal of his own just three minutes later. As long as the top line is rolling, the Ducks have a chance.

Worst - Josh Manson injury. Josh Manson is the second piece of the Ducks best defensive pair. He helped the early on, assisting on Silfverberg’s goal. After some physical hits, Josh Manson left with an upper body injury and wouldn’t return. While it didn’t hurt the Ducks in this game, it would certainly be a blow during their critical run for the playoffs if Manson ends up missing extended time. Carlyle mentioned being hopeful that Manson would be on their upcoming road trip however. We won’t know for sure for a few days.

Best - Pressure from everyone. Not only was the top line getting chances tonight. So were the other two lines we expect offense from, along with 4 different defensemen recording a point. Although they didn’t score, the Henrique line was in full command of the game while on the ice, with Henrique, Ritchie, and Kase recording a 90.9, 90.9, and 94.7 corsi percentage respectively.

Three Stars of the Game

3. Jakob Silfverberg - Silfverberg recorded a goal in the first period, giving him 7 points in the last 8 games including 3 goals. The last few seasons, Silfverberg has waited until the end to begin heating up. It looks like it could happen again this season, and the Ducks could certainly use it.

2. Ryan Getzlaf - The Ducks leader once again showed his playmaking abilities. Scoring the first goal of the game, and adding a beautiful pass from below the net to set up Montour’s powerplay goal, Getzlaf now sits at 54 points and 43 assists in only 48 games played. 16 of those points coming in the last 9 games.

1. Rickard Rakell - It seems Rakell is still underrated by most, because he’s on fire and having a career year once again. Assisting on the powerplay goal, and adding a goal of his own, Rakell is now up to 14 points in the last 10 games, 9 of those points being goals. With Getzlaf feeding him passes all over the ice, he can’t be stopped.

With nine games remaining on the schedule, the Ducks will be back in action against the Calgary Flames, as they begin a 4 game road trip Wednesday night. Puck drops at 6:30pm PST.