In case you hadn’t noticed, the Anaheim Ducks have shaken off their season-opening 6-1 loss to Colorado in rather impressive fashion.
Five straight wins. Twenty goals scored. Just eight surrendered.
Tonight, they’ll try to make it six straight when Phoenix, another team off to a good start, visits The Pond.
Here’s what the Coyotes will be facing:
—- A team that’s getting great goaltending. Particularly from Jonas Hiller, who’s 3-0-0 with a .959 save percentage and one shutout. Even with the other half of the tandem, Viktor Fasth, allowing six goals in one game to the Avs, the Ducks’ team save percentage stands at .922, the ninth highest in the NHL.
—- A team that’s been outstanding five-on-five. It’s had to be with a power play that ranks last in the NHL (4.3%) and a penalty kill that ranks 26th (72.2%). The Ducks’ excellent even-strength play is illustrated in their individual plus-minuses — veteran d-man Francois Beauchemin leads the team at plus-8, while Cam Fowler (-3), Saku Koivu (-1), and Matt Beleskey (-1) are the only minuses.
—- A team that’s getting scoring from its best players. Like Corey Perry (3G, 3A) and Ryan Getzlaf (2G, 3A). Those two are paid the big bucks for a reason.
—- A team that’s getting scoring from its newcomers. Like Jakob Silfverberg (4G, 2A) and Mathieu Perreault (2G, 3A). The former was acquired from Ottawa in the Bobby Ryan trade; the latter came to Anaheim in a deal with Washington. Even much-maligned winger Dustin Penner, signed as a free agent, has chipped in with a pair of goals and a pair of assists.
—- A team that’s getting off to good starts. Only San Jose (12) has more first-period goals than the Ducks (10). “Our first periods have been generous to us,” said head coach Bruce Boudreau. “We’ve gotten out to a lead and just had to protect it. Last season, we would usually have to come from behind.”
All that said, the Ducks didn’t play their best Wednesday, ultimately getting outshot 35-22 by the Flames in a game Anaheim managed to hang on and win, 3-2.
“I didn’t think we had much flow at all,” Boudreau said. “When you’re used to seeing what we saw the previous two games, it’s tough to take.”
Obviously, “tough to take” is a relative phrase. We assume most Ducks fans will take 5-1-0 after six games.