Two games are hardly a good amount of play to determine where the best teams will be when April comes. But it is enough time to see what the teams need to work on in practice.
The Ducks have done well defensively in their opening pair of contests allowing only three goals. But one goal over the first two games on offense is not good. Sami Vatanen has the lone Ducks goal to start out the season. What are the reasons the Ducks haven’t scored much in the opening?
Separated Getzlaf and Perry
Bruce Boudreau had the idea coming into training camp that he wanted to spread out the scoring on his forward lines. So how does one move scoring through the lines and make sure the team is tougher to defend? It’s certainly not by separating the team’s dynamic duo of Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. Since training camp, Perry and Getzlaf have been separated by Boudreau to see if they could boost the other lines. But the evidence from the past two seasons suggest that the Ducks have no trouble scoring.
From the 2013-14 season through the 2014-15 season, Anaheim is tied for first with 491 total goals with the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Ducks have never had trouble scoring with Getzlaf and Perry together and it certainly wasn’t those two that had all of those goals. Boudreau is known for tinkering with his lineup and the constant line changes and switches borders on insecurity. The tandem of Getzlaf and Perry need to stay together for the scoring to come. Boudreau put the pair back together the Monday morning before the game against Vancouver. Getzlaf and Perry skated well together, although they produced no points.
Two Great Goalie Performances
Martin Jones and Ryan Miller both played exceptionally well against Anaheim, so maybe it’s not all in the makeup of the forward lines. Ryan Miller was excellent in the three on three overtime when the Ducks had a four on three power play. He held strong and didn’t allow but one tally in his net. Martin Jones held Anaheim to a shutout in his first home opener in San Jose (a team notorious for starting the season strong). While some of the fault may lie with the forwards, there’s no doubt that Miller and Jones played a crucial role in each of their teams’ victories.
Since the game against San Jose, Anaheim has gone to better line combinations as seen in the game against Vancouver. The Horcoff, Maroon, and Stewart line was generating a flurry of scoring chances with no results and Getzlaf and Perry were teamed back up with Jiri Sekac on the left-wing for them. Hagelin has also moved from the top line to the line of Kesler and Silfverberg.
These lines are the ones that were mostly expected when the Ducks made their acquisitions in the summer. Hagelin with Kesler and Silfverberg makes that line the most defensively able on the team and Sekac adds a great amount of speed to the big bodies of Perry and Getzlaf. One thing to also remember is that we are two games in and anything can happen from here on out. But, just like the saying on the back of the Ducks’ team shirt, close is not good enough this year.
I am a young product of Southern California taking in the world of hockey from the palm trees. I was raised by Kings fans and rebelled to the Ducks in 1993. This sport is incredible and I have a tremendous amount of respect for the game, the fans, and most of all, coaches and players.