Posts Tagged ‘joe thornton’

Our Ducks bring their winning record and league worst PK into the Shark Tank to face the undefeated Sharks who just happen to feature hockey’s best PP. Seasoned bettors describe this type of game as a classic trap. Five games into a condensed season is not enough of a sample to establish trends and probabilities. What you can note after five games about the Sharks is that not only are they winning, they are winning handily.  Only the smothering trap of the Phoenix Coyotes slowed them. The Sharks scored an EN to defeat the ‘Yotes 5-3.

Sharks roll will be tested against arguably their biggest rival. Bobby Ryan told Eric Stephens, “I know L.A.’s right here,” Ryan said. “But we’ve played San Jose in the playoffs and I’m sure that added to it. I think that the intensity and the pace of the game, every time we play them, is highly elevated.”

Both teams are fired up and ready to go. The obvious is to view this game as a measuring stick. That and other cliche buzz is better left for post game. Call it a measuring stick if it helps the team. Avoid it if it doesn’t.

The best thing former coach Randy Carlyle tried to instill in these Ducks is to stay on an even keel. He preached, “Don’t get too high after a win or too low after a loss.” Our Ducks avoided getting too low after showing their butts for all the world to see in their home opener. They came back and gutted out a win over Nashville.

What this game does represent to our Ducks is the opportunity to take two steps forward. Win, beat hockey’s second hottest team and our Ducks immediately establish themselves as a team not to be taken lightly. Ducks begin to write a story line that could stick for the entire season. Lose and nobody is surprised, Sharks are after all, a team on a roll.

Look for Coach to match strength against strength in the early going. Watch the Sharks come out flying and attempt to put us away early. The first big hit is likely to set the tone for this tilt. This season, our Ducks have some big hitters.

All the usual Keys to the Game apply. Stay out of the box, skate and be aggressive, play smart hockey by providing puck support and out-manning the opposition at the point of attack. Most importantly though is to come out hitting. Pick up your check, establish and maintain inside position on him. Nothing is more frustrating than keeping your check on the outside looking in. Tonight’s gut hunch, Cam Fowler has a big game.

Let’s roll!!!

Thirteen games without a road win and our ducks got it done in regulation time. For those waiting for our guys to get rewarded for all their hard work of late, tonight was your night. I missed the first period but obviously we played them even where it mattered. Luca Sbisa opened the scoring when  he one-timed a feed from George Parros that rocketed passed an out-stretched Antti Niemii.
Outside of the 2:33 to open the second period our guys carried the play to the Sharks. Ducks transition from the back line was very evident tonight. We just didn’t get hemmed in our zone for chunks of clock tonight. Our Ducks went up 2-1 when Bobby Ryan pick-pocketed Joe Thornton at the Ducks blue line and went in alone to beat Niemii high glove. McGinn tied it up on another unobstructed view shot from about 25′ out that beat Hiller high glove side.
Andrew Cogliano got that soft one back with one of his own. After that it was all about our Ducks D as the guys protected the one goal lead to the final buzzer.
With the win our Ducks have taken 3 of a possible 4 points in the last two games. Ducks are also a perfect 3-0 against the Sharks.
Not even a Sharks fan tossing a dead mallard on the ice in the middle of the third could rattle our team. The fan did inspire tonight’s Tweet of the Game:

Mark Whicker
MWhickerOCRMark Whicker
@icemancometh So the guy sat there with a rotten dead bird for more than 2 1/2 periods.

Don’t look now but Ryan Getzlaf is on pace for 36 goals and 36 PIMS. This is a maturing and much smarter hockey player than we’ve watched in past seasons. Gone from his game are the stupid retaliatory penalties he used to take. The evidence was very apparent in the Wild game when he didn’t go after Brett Bulmer late in the second period. We don’t see him chewing out the Refs anywhere near as passionately or as often. Some are saying his 5 points in the last 3 games indicate that he’s heating up. Naw, warming up sure, but Ryan Getzlaf has another gear or two to hit before I use a phrase like heating up.
He still needs to win some faceoffs, cut down his giveaways and most importantly dominate slot to slot more consistently from shift to shift and game in and game out. This doesn’t mean that Ryan Getzlaf isn’t among Sidney Crosbys, Alex Ovechkins, Corey Perrys, Steve Stamkos and Evgeny Malkins. Obviously Getz isn’t there yet though. (more…)

They fought the fatigue of 3 games in 4 nights. They overcame injuries to Visnovsky and Beauchemin. Even the calls went against them as they had to kill 3 consecutive minor penalties, including a 5 on 3 in which they gave up a goal. They did it with their backup goaltender.

And at the end of a night wherein our Ducks left pieces of heart and chunks of lung on the ice, they skated off with a win to build upon. This was a game when everything and everybody was tested. Including and maybe especially the trainers. After Beauchemin had his sewn back into its socket he went blocked a Pavelski shot that would have been the tying goal. Lord knows where Toni Lydman found the strength to compete against Big Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau in only his second game of the season. (more…)