A Huge Win: Ducks 2 Chicago 1

Posted: 03/27/2011 by bc in Uncategorized

Jeez, what a game. Low scoring is absolutely thrilling when the game is as well-played as it was last night by our Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks.

Corey Perry, with both Ducks goals was the star but he wasn’t the difference. Pears was the finisher on a couple of great plays. Pears first tally came after receiving a backhand pass from Ryan Getzlaf who had taken the puck on a backhand pass from Bobby Ryan. Now think, when was the last time you saw a goal scored when the primary and secondary assists were backhand passes?The play began on a sweet first pass from Visnovsky to Getzlaf which ignited the 3 on 2.

The winner was vintage Perry. Taking a pass from Getzlaf, Pears used his body to protect the puck as he spun away from a Hawk defender and lifted one top shelf on rookie goaltender Corey Crawford. Bobby Ryan and Getz beat 3 Hawks they had drawn into the corner into corner that created the time and space for Perry.

Following the game Pears credited “playing like a line instead of two guys plus one” for his success. He’s right but Perry’s maturity as a player is also a primary reason for his success this season. Gone, especially during the recent 15 or so games, are the stupid and selfish penalties this blog noted in Corey Perry, First to Blossom back on January 25, 2011.

The win allowed our Ducks to leapfrog the Blackhawks into the 7th seed in the Western Conference. As this blog has noted, our Ducks are a playoff hockey so long as Randy Carlyle doesn’t blow it. Carlyle certainly cost us one in Nashville by starting Jonas Hiller instead of sending Jonas to Syracuse on a conditioning stint.

Ray Emery is the hot hand and it will now be difficult to find a start for Jonas down the stretch. MSM may make something of a goalie controversy. I doubt that will be accurate though. There could be a controversy in the off-season and at training camp next season if we sign Emery, who’s UFA.

This team is far too focused to let a roster change have much impact. So long as the substitute plays well of course. One example of a Carlyle decision that worked last night was substituting call-up Matt Belesky for Dan Sexton. Against a team like Chicago, we need the sandpaper of Bellesky more than the flash and dash Big Sexy brings.

Come Monday against Colorado, I hope Sexton gets the call. We’ll need his wheels.

Statistical anomaly: For those us who’ve been posting together here and at the OCR Ducks Blog know that I’m a big believer in the goal differential stat as an indicator. Usually, goal differential coincides with the standings. This year seems to be the exception. Our Ducks are the only team in the top 9 of the Western Conference with a minus goal differential. In the East, 5th place Tampa Bay is an overall minus-5. Runaway President’s Trophy leader Vancouver Canucks are also the runaway goal differential leader with a plus-69. Second best goal differential Boston with a plus-47 is only 8th in the league standings.

I don’t recall witnessing such a substantial difference between goal differential and the standings as represented by our Ducks, Lightning and Bruins this season.

This week our Ducks are at home against Colorado on Monday. Travel to Calgary Wednesday and San Jose on Saturday. Our guys can virtually guaranty a no less than ninth place with a RT win at the Saddledome.

Eighty-two games is a long season full of ups and downs. This one began with a big step backward. Each time though our guys regrouped and found a way to get into contention. They did so one more time following When Girls Love Hockey blogger Jenelyn Russo called them out for an underwhelming performance on this blog following the St. Louis game. That was just 11 days ago but it seems like a lifetime.

Since that browbeating our Ducks have gone 4-1 in 5 straight one goal games.

  1. jenelynrusso says:

    That St. Louis game does seem like a lifetime ago. And since then, they have played with the fire I was talking about–like they actually want it. The come-from-behind thrillers have been especially impressive. It shows they don’t quit. That they actually believe they still have a chance, even if it’s down to 5.4 seconds left. I love that about this team and about hockey.

  2. silentboba says:

    Yeah, they sure look like they want it lately. A couple of games have looked like they needed a little time to get into the game, but having three games in four nights will do that to you. I’m very happy they’re gunning up to the last minute no matter what. That Nashville game was pretty darn close to joining their run of come from behind victories, too.

    • BackCheck says:

      Hey jenelynrusso & silentboba,

      Want it and hopefully can taste it now. These Ducks could well prove to be one of those teams built for playoff success. Any team that faces our guys in a long series is going to have the stuffing beaten out of them.

  3. czhokej says:

    Yes, we play better hockey right now. Sometimes it’s very exciting and our first line has some power, when they control the puck. Perry improved so much, it’s almost hard to believe, especially when compared to his linemates. Corey is skating better, added some new moves, and he plays with confidence. What bothers me is that neither Bobby nor Getzy (who both have equal amount of talent) can match his positioning (injuries?). Getzy still wants to be the primary passer and doesn’t go into those chief scoring areas, even when Pears could pass – he simply waits for Corey to go there. Even Bobby sometimes doesn’t read the game that well.
    The reason for this skeptical look at the positive phenomenon is that the Ducks cannot rely so much on Perry’s scoring. Other teams will quickly recognize that, and if they can shut down Corey, we cannot win.

    • BackCheck says:

      Welcome back czhokej. Now that you have that pesky career out of the way; I’m looking forward to seeing you pay more attention to hokej 😉 Hopefully you might convince Europe’s version of the Hatfields and McCoys, Chechs and Slovaks to at least reunite for the purpose of international hockey competition. Man I miss those great Chech teams. Two countries, one team. Just a thought in case you’re looking for a project 🙂

      Your points on Getz, Ryan and Pears are well taken. What do you think of Ryan becoming more of a play-maker and Perry becoming nearly and virtually a finisher during this run? Can you elaborate on, “Even Bobby sometimes doesn’t read the game that well.”

  4. czhokej says:

    I hope to spend more time discussing hockey now. Thanks to you for providing a nice forum here.
    To go more into details on Bobby – he became better playmaker, but there are moments during every game, when I think that he is expecting Corey to do all the goalie screening, battling around the crease for the rebounds and deflections. (Even though I still believe that it should be Getzlaf’s primary responsibility).
    Sometimes Perry has the puck and he is ready to pass it into a shooting position, but Getzy is too often in a no-man’s-land, and Ryan stays below the goal line. Starting from what I call “Carlyle’s triangle” – usually Getz at the half-wall, Bobby in the corner and Corey behing the net – too often both RG and BR wait for Perry to make the first move from the cycle into a scoring area. Teemu, for example, still can find those open spaces.

    • BackCheck says:

      Yeah I hear ya now cz. Sometimes I need a little more info. You’d think they’d be a tad less predictable but Carlyle likes to attack the net off the cycle or from the point shots. I’d like to see an option where Getz goes into the lower faceoff circle, between the hash marks or low slot while Ryan carries it up the boards and either dishes to a D or turns and fires.

  5. czhokej says:

    You are right, they should add some other designed plays.

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