The Ducks are flying high right now (pardon the ridiculous pun).
After beating the top two teams in the West in consecutive games, the Ducks are surging forward on their most important mission.
Win games, make the playoffs.
Starting from the net out, Jonas Hiller was absolutely fantastic in the net, stopping 38 shots. Making improbable saves and huge stops on breakaways from the opposition, this is the goaltender that signed an extension just a few months ago, and this is the man that the Ducks will rely on to make or break this season.
More importantly, the Ducks were able to take care of business without Ryan Getzlaf, who, lets face it, for all purposes is a key element for the Ducks night in and night out. Ryan Carter, who's been a healthy scratch for a number of games, was given the nod to fill in for Getzlaf as the team's top-line center, and performed well at the task.
If there is one thing that Carter does better than Getzlaf, it's win face-offs—something that undoubtedly helped as he assisted on the first goal of the night, and ultimately Bobby Ryan's 30th of the year. While Carter played a great game alongside Ryan and Corey Perry, I still wish Getzlaf a speedy recovery down the stretch.
Meanwhile, Teemu Selanne is still searching for goal 600, and his teammates are working hard to set him up. Selanne had plenty of opportunities to get it done, even with a plethora of over-passing when the game was tied 2-2. The goal will come, that is for certain.
The game wasn't without controversy however, as both teams played an extremely physical game.
Chicago, playing without key defenseman Brian Campbell, is looking to get past a rocky week. Having lost their last few games, they were hoping that a subpar Ducks squad wouldn't put up much of a fight.
However, Anaheim is playing desperate hockey, and it showed on Wednesday night.
A sequence that began with Brent Seabrook laying a huge hit on Perry was immediately followed by a retaliation in the form of a hit from James Wisniewski.
While both hits were crowd-pleasers, the hit on Seabrook caused him to ultimately leave the game and is also sparking another discussion in the area of hits to the head.
In this particular instance, I won’t be surprised to see Wisniewski get a suspension, which is unfortunate for the Ducks. Wisniewski was assessed a charging penalty, a fighting major (Chicago's Duncan Keith fought Wisniewski after the hit), and nothing more. Seabrook definitely looked out of sorts after being hit, and after watching the replay there is no question that Wisniewski's arms were up high.
Wisniewski was clearly searching for an opportunity to retaliate against the very questionable, and unpenalized, hit that Seabrook gave to Perry.
I definitely feel that Wisniewski's hit was questionable, and I believe a suspension is forthcoming, especially with the recent string of hits to the head.
However, his motivation in this instance is undeniable. If someone is taking liberties at someone like Perry—or anyone for that matter—I expect that player's teammates to step up and show an allegiance.
Wisniewski did just that. His devotion to his teammates was enough to spark a fierce momentum and a surge throughout the crowd.
There is no question that Wisniewski was attempting to do the honorable thing by retaliating against Seabrook; unfortunately the message came across a little too aggressively.
And Wisniewski paid for that message, he was forced to fight on two separate occasions.
So now the question remains…Does Wisniewski deserve a suspension for his hit on Seabrook?
In case you are wondering of Wisniewski’s past, he was suspended for two games earlier this season for a hit on Shane Doan of the Phoenix Coyotes.
If the Ducks are forced to play the next few games without the services of Wisniewski, it will mean that once again a team that has struggled on defense must find a way past its shortcomings.
Let's just hope the New York Islanders have given up hope when they come to town on Friday night.
Oh, they're still in the playoff chase too? Damn.