The Anaheim Ducks have been a pleasant surprise, sitting in fourth place in the Western Conference.
They had a six-game win streak snapped by the defending Stanley Cup Champions is a hard fought 3-2 OT loss.
What is the secret to their success?
Through the six-game win streak, the Ducks had contributions from many players. Backup goalie Curtis McElhinney put up an impressive shutout win over the struggling New York Islanders. It also stands out that the continued success of the top players Getzlaf, Selanne, Perry and Bobby Ryan is a nightly occurrence.
Rookie rear guard Cam Fowler passed the milestone 10-game mark, earning his place on the roster for the 2010/2011 season.
The strong play of Jonas Hiller in the pipes has created confidence for the entire group.
I believe the most important ingredient to the solid start the Ducks are having is Lubomir Visnovsky. Lubomir is having a Norris-type campaign at the quarter pole.
In the 19 games Visnovsky has played, he has collected 15 points and is a plus-five. Averaging over 25 minutes a night, the smooth-skating Slovakian defenseman is the focal point of the Duck Power play and workhorse for all other facets of the game.
Above that, Lubomir is also the mentor to the previously mention Fowler.
Visnovsky is a player I don’t praise often; actually, I would say I am normally critical of his play.
When the legendary Scott Niedermayer retired, the Ducks desperately needed a leader on the blue line. From my standpoint, Visnovsky has overachieved so far and all signs point to Carlyle giving him full endorsement.
All the offensive skill and star potential hasn’t lead to much for Visnovsky. He has battled injuries and had minimal success.
If Lubomir can continue to impress as the Ducks' anchor defenseman, then a playoff round or two is likely for Anaheim.
That being said, the real question is, can Visnovsky handle that workload and pressure while performing at this Norris trophy candidate caliber?
My vote is still no. However, the first quarter of the season is nothing short of great!