Anaheim Ducks – First Five In The Bag
The first five regular season games – and the first road trip – are complete. It’s a mixed set of games, that’s for sure.
The first game was the home opener against the San Jose Sharks on 10/3. What I had predicted was a win and Jonas Hiller in the net. Well, one of two isn’t bad. Hiller was in the net and probably wished he hadn’t been. I sat through the 1-4 loss and wondered where the team went that I saw during preseason. Granted, it was only preseason and we had more personnel to choose from; but wow. Where was the defense? Did the offense even show up? Did anyone tell the Ducks that this was a regular season game? You know the home crowd is frustrated and angry when we all erupt in cheering….for a freaking SOG! I even bought myself a drink of the alcoholic type and I don’t drink. It’s the SHARKS…opening night…they flat outplayed the Ducks. There was an entertaining brawl during the 3rd period which somehow ended up with the Ducks on a PP. Sure there were a few highlights: Ryan Whitney scored the only Ducks goal, Luca Sbisa showed he is one to watch and Jonas Hiller debuted his Hiller Edition Proton mask. This is the first Swiss made goalie mask in NHL history. Glückwünsche Hiller and Airxess! Here’s the website for pictures of the mask: http://www.airxess.ch/airxess_vintage_news_E.php
You know the game is bad when your goalie has to drag his net back from the boards on his own, without stoppage of play. I was happy when that game was over.
The second game and first of the road trip was on 10/10 and the Ducks faced the Minnesota Wild. JS Giguere was in the net and the Ducks were looking better then the last game. They held a 3-0 lead into the 3rd period. Giguere was looking pretty good in his first regular season start. With 14 minutes left in the game, the Wild came back and scored three goals to tie the game. James Wisniewski took a bad penalty for roughing at 1:44 in OT which lead to the Wild goal to seal the fate of the Ducks. I was happy to see the team jelling a little more, as road trips tend to do. Although the score says differently, Giguere was pretty amazing in the net. I was happy to see that, not only because of his last season, but it means the Ducks have a great goaltending duo. Final score: 3-4 OT.
Game three on 10/8 saw the Ducks in Boston to play the Bruins. Last February, the Bruins spanked the Ducks 0-6; now it was payback time. The Ducks showed even further cohesiveness during this game and won it 6-1. Hiller was in the net and I have to say, he showed that he is ready to fight for the #1 position. The best goal of the game came off Corey Perry’s head and showed when it’s going right, it’s going right! You know he heard all the jokes in the locker room after that! http://ducks.nhl.tv/team/console.jsp?hlg=20092010,2,35&event=BOS718.
Game four against the Philadelphia Flyers on 10/10 was one that most (if not all) Duck fans were looking forward to: Chris Pronger! We knew it was going to be a hard game against the Flyers and Prongs; certainly we didn’t forget that Joffrey Lupul and Luca Sbisa were playing against their former team as well. The game was one of those I live for – stressful, fun and ended in a 3-2 SO win for Anaheim. Granted, it did take the Ducks until 13:16 in the 3rd to get the first goal – the Finnish Flash does it again! At 19:44 – Teemu Selanne once again shows why he is really not ready to “retire” and scored the second goal to send the game into OT. Knowing that Anaheim has one of the best goalies between the pipes in SO, I just kept hoping we could keep the puck in our possession. Yes! SO! HILLER!! Needless to say, Hiller saved all three and guess who scored on his round? Yup – no other than Teemu Selanne!! If anyone, anywhere says that the #1 Star of that game went to someone other than Selanne……well, they weren’t paying attention.
The last of the road trip and for the week saw Anaheim in New York against the Rangers on 10/11. I was a bit worried going into this game as it was the back end of the back to back. That rarely bodes well for the Ducks. Giguere was in the net and although Anaheim lost 0-3, he did another good job. The rest of the team had no energy at all and boy – it showed. The game itself was actually boring, if I do say so myself. If it hadn’t been for Jiggy, that score would have been much higher. However, a goalie can’t do it all on his own. Almost, but not quite.
Overall notes for this first week of regular season:
LET’S GO DUCKS!