Ducks-Lightning: Power Play Fuels Anaheim to Victory

SKCorrespondent INovember 20, 2009

ANAHEIM, CA - NOVEMBER 19:  (L-R) Corey Perry #10, Ryan Getzlaf #15, Scott Niedermayer #27 and Teemu Selanne #8 of the Anaheim Ducks celebrate Niedermayer's game winning goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Honda Center on November 19, 2009 in Anaheim, California. The Ducks defeated the Lightning 4-3 in overtime. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Thursday night's 4-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning meant more to the Ducks than most will realize.

Typically, moral victories don't mean a thing. They don't win games and they mean squat in terms of standings.

However, when you're the team bringing up the rear in the Western Conference, moral victories can often mean just as much as real ones.

For the first time in what seems like an eternity, the Ducks were able to take advantage of the power play, physical play, and big-named superstars on the roster.

Finally.

Scoring three of their four goals, the first by Teemu Selanne coming just as the man advantage expired, was a huge boost for the Ducks looking to turn any negatives into positives. In fact, just watching the Ducks get more than one shot off during a power play seemed like a small victory.

The Ducks are still struggling in many areas, like playing during the second period, for example, but the fact of the matter is they've shown improvement.

Most importantly we saw key players Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, Bobby Ryan, and Selanne...playing defense. I know, it seemed unreal to me too, but there they were, moving their feet, finishing their hits, pressuring the puck. It was a pleasant surprise, and it paid off for them.

This is definitely progress, and two points that no one can complain about, but now comes the real test.

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

The Ducks have a huge opponent on Saturday. We're talking about an outstanding San Jose Sharks team (once again). They're not going to sit back and allow Anaheim to walk over them. The Sharks have no reason to do Anaheim any favors, and they won’t. Expect a sharp puck-moving team with the ability to make you look stupid if you're caught standing around.

But here's something to remember. Anaheim has the ability to do that to teams too, and we saw that for the first time against Tampa Bay. The Ducks definitely started the game with some solid puck movement and quality chances. Breakaways were looking fantastic, and who would have thought that maybe Evgeny Artyukhin might be a good match for Selanne?

Most importantly, the Ducks showed what they can do when they playing a tough physical game. Above all, the best players on the ice for the Ducks were just that—their best players. That needs to continue if the Ducks want to pull out of the hole they're in. 

Unfortunately, with this positive spin comes a negative one. 

Midway through the first period, James Wisniewski hobbled off of the ice and into the locker room, where he would remain for the rest of the game. X-rays were negative, but there is a strong likelihood his foot will need some rest. Expect a call-up soon. 

This is just one solid game...

Hopefully there are many more to come.