EVPIHCGMBM is 3-1 as a head coach. I repeat: he’s 3-1. The Ducks are playing with renewed confidence and are no longer getting embarrassed night in and night out.
What kind of weird alternate universe are we in? Am I on Punkd?
The Ducks latest win has either made you happy or upset, depending on which side of the tank argument you’re on. With the win, Anaheim now sits sixth from the bottom of the league, and only three points out of a playoff spot.
This game was a clear illustration not of the Ducks improved play, but of why the Minnesota Wild seem to be in free-fall.
A relatively flat first period gave way to Jakob Silfverberg’s 16th goal of the season cleaning up a rebound from a Devin Shore tip. With Silfverberg on the verge of re-signing with the Ducks, he’s certainly trying to prove he deserves the money.
Poor deployment and lack of execution on the Wild’s part allowed the Ducks to run away with the game in the third period after a vintage Ryan Getzlaf-to-Corey Perry goal on the rush doubled the lead.
That’s when hell froze over. Ryan Kesler helped force a turnover in the defensive zone, rushed it back up ice, and fired a shot between the glove and leg of goaltender Devan Dubnyk. The goal was Kesler’s first since November 6th, and gave him his first point since December 2nd; a 39 game drought.
Hampus Lindholm put the game out of reach with an empty netter off an Adam Henrique faceoff win.
Ryan Miller spun his 44th career shutout with a 31 save performance, returning the Ducks to their winning ways for the first time in what feels like forever.
Best & Worst
Best: The twins are back
Watching Ryan Getzlaf feed Corey Perry for a goal will never get old as long as they’re still playing on the same team. Seeing that connection last night gave us a nice nostalgic throwback to the days when the Ducks were actually contenders. The entire top line, including Rickard Rakell, has been running a 52.87 CF% and 58.33 SCF% since Murray took over behind the bench.
Worst: Ruining the tank
For those of you on the tank bandwagon, this victory really put a damper on gunning for a lottery pick. The Ducks are going to need some help tonight to not climb further up the standings. Luckily, their next game is against the Pacific-leading Calgary Flames.
Best: Ryan Miller shutout
Miller clearly hasn’t been feeling any lingering effects from his knee injury that made him miss 24 games. With Kevin Boyle’s great play in the fold, there could be some friendly competition for next year’s backup netminder position down the stretch, assuming Miller isn’t traded by Monday’s deadline.
3. Ryan Kesler
2. Corey Perry
1. Ryan Miller