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Ducks 10 Game Review: Games 11-20
By Thomas Harrington
Injuries have continued to take their toll on Anaheim’s roster over the last 10 games. Despite this, the Ducks still went 5-3-2 over that span and picked up 12 points, keeping themselves in the thick of the playoff race.
Anaheim’s best forward over the last 10 games was Rickard Rakell. He led the team with eight assists and 11 points, while his three goals were second on the team. More importantly than his point totals was his consistency. He was only held pointless three times over the last 10 games, half the number of games he was pointless in Anaheim’s first 10 games of the season. With so much star power out of Anaheim’s lineup, they desperately need Rakell to step up and score, and that’s just what he did over the last 10 games. He also helped jumpstart Anaheim’s powerplay, as he led the Ducks with five powerplay points over the last 10 games. That kind of special teams production is a big reason why Anaheim has won three games in a row and sits only a few points out of first place in the Pacific Division.
The Ducks’ best defenseman over the last 10 games was Josh Manson. With so many injuries on the blueline, he has far and away been the most consistent and reliable defensemen on Anaheim’s roster this season, and he really stepped things up over the last 10 games. He’s not much of a scorer, but he did lead Anaheim’s defense with six points, including two goals. While one goal was a lucky bounce, his goal against Florida was a thing of beauty. Besides the increased offense, he continues to be one half of Anaheim’s top shut down pair. While the other player has rotated throughout the season, Manson can always be counted on to be on the ice against the opponent’s top scorers.
The worst forward over the last 10 games was Dennis Rasmussen. He was brought in over the summer to be a fourth line role player, but the Ducks need more out of him with so many players out of the lineup. Instead, he played in nine of Anaheim’s last 10 games and was held pointless in all nine games. Other players, like Derek Grant and Chris Wagner, have really stepped up to fill the injury void. When the Ducks do start getting healthy up front, Rasmussen will likely find himself a healthy scratch more often than not, if not put on waivers and assigned to San Diego. If he wants to avoid that fate, he’ll need to play much better going forward.
Kevin Bieksa was Anaheim’s worst defenseman over the last 10 games. He actually played some decent hockey, but as Anaheim’s blueline has gotten healthier, the other five defensemen on the ice are better than Bieksa. In eight games, Bieksa was pointless, had three shots on goal, and a -6 rating. As a third pairing player, those aren’t terrible numbers, but for a player with his contract, he needs to better going forward.
In net, Anaheim used three goaltenders over the last 10 games and each won at least one game. Reto Berra got his first start as a Duck in the most recent game against San Jose and won in the shootout. Ryan Miller started three games and picked up two wins, but is currently injured. When healthy, he’s been an excellent backup this season, but he’s spent more time injured than healthy. John Gibson started six of Anaheim’s last 10 games but won only twice. However, despite winning only twice, he’s played extremely well, as he’s stopped over 40 shots in his last two games. Other than the loss to Nashville, he’s looked great in net over the last 10 games.
Anaheim’s injured list continues to grow, but there is some good news. In their most recent game, for the first time all season, Anaheim’s defense had Cam Fowler, Hampus Lindholm, Sami Vatanen, and Manson in the lineup. However, Fowler only played in that final game, while both Lindholm and Vatanen missed time as well. Unfortunately, Anaheim’s forward group is still decimated by injuries. Ryan Kesler has yet to play in a game this season, while Ryan Getzlaf only played in one game of the last 10 and will be out for the foreseeable future. Patrick Eaves is still out long-term, while Ondrej Kase and Jared Boll are both out too.
The Ducks dressed three different rookies over the last 10 games. Kevin Roy had the biggest impact of the three, as he played in his first five NHL games and scored his first career goal against Boston. He also saw some ice time in overtime against San Jose and took a shootout chance as well. Roy is playing between eight and 15 minutes a night, but the fact that he has played over 15 minutes a couple of times shows how much Randy Carlyle has come to trust him. Kalle Kossila played in five of Anaheim’s last 10 games but has since been returned to San Diego. He went scoreless and played between eight and 12 minutes in those five games. As Anaheim’s defense has gotten healthier, Jaycob Megna has seen less ice time, but he still found his way into four games and played between 14 and 17 minutes in those games. For now, he’s still in Anaheim as the Ducks likely do not want to risk putting him on waivers, but ice time could become difficult for him to get if Anaheim’s defense can stay healthy going forward.
A few more things that caught my eye over the last 10 games. Even though he isn’t playing at a dominant level, Corey Perry was second on the team in both assists and points and recorded four powerplay points as well. With Kesler out, Wagner has admirably stepped in and filled the space between Andrew Cogliano and Jakob Silfverberg, and played over 20 minutes in four of Anaheim’s past 10 games. With Getzlaf out, Grant has been the surprise player of the season to center Anaheim’s top line. He had two goals and six points over the last 10 games and has looked surprisingly comfortable between Perry and Rakell. Silfverberg led the Ducks with five goals. He started the season in a bit of a slump, but hopefully, that’s now behind him. Mike Liambas was recalled from San Diego and made his Anaheim debut against Florida. Brandon Montour continues his great start to the season, picking up two goals and five points. Both Lindholm and Vatanen have taken a little bit of time to get back up to speed after missing most of October, but both are back to playing at a high level, picking up three and four points respectively.
The Ducks have done an admirable job of staying in the playoff race with so many injuries early in the season. With a fully healthy defense, hopefully, the team can start limiting the shots more than they have been and reduce the load on their goalies every night. Hopefully, Anaheim’s forwards can follow the defense and get healthy over the next 10 games.
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November 22nd, 2017
Filed under: Ducks News Tagged: 10 game review, Anaheim Ducks, Ducks, ducksnpucks, games 11-20