What a week for Ducks fans.
After dishing out what may have been their best performance of the season against Chicago on Friday afternoon, the Ducks were looking to make it four straight wins at home Sunday night against Phoenix.
Unfortunately, the Ducks were only able to pick up one point as a result of a 3-2 loss in overtime
However, one thing is apparent; these surging Ducks might be turning a corner on this ugly season.
Most importantly, over the course of this past week, the Ducks have seen an uprising in J.S. Giguere as confidence is clearly returning to his game. As Giguere's game steadily improves, fans are reminded of the Conn Smyth winner from the 2003 playoff run as well as their route to the Stanley Cup in 2007.
It's seems as though the team is beginning to remember that man as well.
Having confidence in their net-minder might be the reason the Ducks have shown a remarkable improvement in penalty killing and defense as a whole. The team is keeping the front of the net clear from both pucks and the opposing forwards with some form of regularity.
Watching Giguere smile and celebrate victories is contagious. Not just for the fans, as it is undoubtedly felt throughout the locker room as well. Putting faith in the man between the pipes might just be what this team needed to begin working on both the defensive and offensive chemistry they have been lacking.
While there are many possible reasons for the recent positive play from the Ducks, one thing is for certain; having a solid performance in the net is never a bad thing.
This current home-stand has been very successful for this team who has been struggling at home. Having gone 4-1-1 in their last six games they look to take a few more points from the cross-town rival, Los Angeles Kings, on Tuesday.
While moral victories are often a huge part of team morale, right now the Ducks are desperate for wins. Beating teams who currently sit above the Ducks in the Western Conference standings (yeah, just about everyone not named Minnesota) is more than an emotional victory, it's a necessary victory.
If the Ducks look to continue their recent success, they're going to need to expand on the things they are beginning to do well. Shooting the puck more is always an option as the blueline is learning. Pressuring the puck, making big hits, attacking the net...all things the Ducks are currently doing well and finding positive results because of it.
However, Sunday night's loss might be explained by a lack of offense. The Ducks had plenty of chances to score, and were unable to get anything past a brilliant effort from Ilya Bryzgalov. The easy explanation is a team being outdone by a stellar goaltender, but unfortunately, this league has many fabulous goaltenders. The Ducks need to figure a way around that.
It’s time for the big offseason acquisitions to step up and contribute on a regular basis. The team is still waiting for Joffrey Lupul to bring his multimillion dollar contract onto the ice (and his current back injury isn’t helping that effort). Meanwhile, Saku Koivu, who shows he can play the physical game demanded of teams in the West, is having a hard time turning his energy into points.
The “Incredible Finn-ishing Line” of Koivu, Teemu Selanne and Evgeny Artyukhin is showing signs of life, but it is still not putting points on the score sheet that the Ducks will require if they hope to continue their success of late.
With the way the team is improving, the answer to stringing together a few more wins might simply be: offense.
I don't want anyone to think I've forgotten Corey Perry. Believe me, I have not forgotten Corey Perry. Many of you know I'm insanely superstitious, and my previous post shows just how much I'm willing to do to remain faithful to the Hockey Gods. So for now...