Flames Extinguished; the Ducks Fly High

(Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)
(Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)

It has been almost nine years since the Anaheim Ducks were relieved of their official “mighty” title and assumed the franchise name The Ducks. Despite no longer having the word ‘mighty’ being printed on any Anaheim swag, all it takes is a quick look at the Ducks record this spring to see that the last team standing in California is on an absolute tear. The offense is firing on all cylinders, the goaltender has been calm, the defense has been mobile and physical. To not agree that this team is the clear favorite to hoist Lord Stanley in June would be disrespectful to the jaw-dropping numbers the Ducks have put up in nine games this spring:

Record: 8-1

Goals for: 35

Goals against: 18

Wishful thinking was one way to describe the Flames’ hopes of coming back in this series. While one cannot deny that the atmosphere in the Scotiabank Saddledome was nothing short of inspiring for a team in the midst of a Cinderella season, there is something to be said for a goalie going up against his old squad who clearly does not have the upper hand. Jonas Hiller had been outstanding for the Flames this year, however known tendencies of a player going up against his old team does indeed goes both ways. Unfortunately for Hiller, the entire Ducks roster had time to study Hiller this season; not mentioning the secrets he may have shared when he skated behind his old Anaheim teammates for nearly six seasons prior to now.

The Anaheim Ducks starting goalie for the season. (Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports)
The Anaheim Ducks starting goalie for the season. (Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports)

These Are No Sitting Ducks

Vatanen and Lindholm have rocked and moved their opponents around every inch of the ice so far these playoffs. While it helps that Corey and Ryan (the way these two have played they must be referred to on a first name basis) have capitalized on nearly every one of their opponents mistakes, they are assured that on the point the puck is going to be either moving towards the net or moving towards their stick:

Vatanen: 2G 5A

Lindholm: 1G 5A

If Anaheim does indeed go all the way, these two unheralded d-men are this year’s Seabrook and Keith. Goal scoring and goaltending has this team looking incredibly dominant versus a western conference that is widely just known for the former. As we move deeper into the postseason one cannot deny that this is something to watch. With a match-up against Chicago now set, hockey fans are surely in for a treat; for the Ducks are mighty still.