After an impressive week to close out their home stand, the Ducks seem to finally be clicking on all cylinders. With only 12 games left in the season the Ducks are now in the drivers seat and have their foot on the accelerator headed for the playoffs. They will get some help along the way, but ultimately hold their fate in their own hands.
This story is too familiar. It was only last year that the Ducks turned it on late in the season and slipped into the 8th and final playoff spot after lurking at the bottom of the standings. Their momentum carried them passed the first seeded San Jose Sharks in 6 games and pushed the Detroit Red Wings to 7 games. It was an impressive run in the playoffs and some of the most exciting Ducks hockey played.
Here we are again, same scenario, different year, with the Ducks beginning to make their playoff push. After making some last minute tweaks to their roster at the trade deadline the Ducks are looking like another scary potential 8th seed.
New additions Aaron Ward, and Lubomir Visnovsky seem to be settling in finally on the blue line and have been significant factors in the past four Duck victories.
Ward's contributions on the blue line have been solid and he seems to be getting into the groove of the Ducks system. His acquisition is similar to the Ducks 2003 Brad May trade deadline deal back when they won the cup. Both players bring impressive resumes with them along with hard nose hockey.
In the previous 5 games Ward has averaged around 15 minutes of ice time and had a a strong game against San Jose finishing with a +3 on the night.
Visnovsky has taken the reigns as the Ducks new quarterback on the power-play. It took some time before things started clicking with the first unit, but it seems he is now comfortable playing with the likes of Scott Niedermayer, Teemu Selanne, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. He was excited his first day upon arriving to Anaheim.
“I come to the locker room, look in the middle [at the rug featuring the ‘D’ team logo], see the big names – Selanne, Niedermayer, Getzlaf, Perry – and get a good feeling. . . I am very happy playing with these guys because they are great players.”
Visnovsky has contributed significantly the past 5 games. He has points in four straight games (3-1=4), his longest since November 16-23, 2009 (1-6=7) He also has points in six of seven (5-2=7) Last Friday vs. the New York Islanders he had his first multi-goal game (2-0=2) since Dec. 29, 2006 w/LA @ CGY (2-0=2).
Jason Blake has caught fire as of late for the Ducks. The former Toronto Maple Leaf has been zooming up and down the ice fighting for every inch he can get. He has goals in two straight games (2-0=2) and has collected 3-2=5 points in the last 10 games.
The Ducks will need the added scoring from their other lines if they are going to sneak into the playoffs this year and Blake seems to be surging at just the right time.
It is a wide open sprint to the finish for the Ducks with Calgary, St. Louis, Minnesota and Dallas all looking at Detroit sitting in the 8th and final spot. Detroit needs to check their rear view mirror because things are closer than they appear!