Line combinations change frequently in the NHL, and the Anaheim Ducks aren’t shy about trying out different wingers alongside Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf. Perhaps they’ve found a more permanent fit in Patrick Maroon, though?
It makes sense in many ways.
Most obviously, the 27-year-old matches up with Perry and Getzlaf in providing a physical presence. NHL.com lists him at 231 lbs., pretty hefty for league standards. He’s been productive in the playoffs so far (four points in five games) and appears to be the Ducks dynamic duo’s most frequent linemate.
Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau told NHL.com that it’s all about Maroon becoming more reliable.
“When you’ve only been in this League for a little over two years, the consistency sometimes isn’t there,” Boudreau said. “That’s the only thing that’s plagued him through the course of the year. When he’s on top of his game, he’s a big force for us, but he’s back on that line because he’s been consistent of late and he’s been playing the same way. There’s no letdown in his game.”
“No letdown” is also a good way to describe how the Ducks played against the Flames in Game 1. We’ll see if Maroon & Co. can keep their impressive run going on Sunday night.
Ouch. What else can you say about the 6-1 beating the Anaheim Ducks handed the Calgary Flames in Game 1?
When the Ducks chased Jonas Hiller in the second period, some may have held out hope that it would light another fire under the Cinderella Flames. Instead, it became clear that this wasn’t all on him, as Karri Ramo let up just as many goals.
Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf were like men among boys in this one, with the Ducks’ dynamic duo grabbing four points each (two goals and two assists for Perry, one goal and three helpers for Getzlaf). The Ducks thoroughly dismantled the Flames to the point that it felt like Anaheim could score at will on Thursday.
Frederik Andersen made some key early saves against the Flames. He likely only regrets missing out on a shutout.
If both Flames goalies struggling and a total embarrassment doesn’t scream “worst-case scenario” enough, Calgary even suffered some injuries in this one. The most worrisome loss is Jiri Hudler, their regular season scoring leader (although they may miss Michael Ferland against the big, mean Ducks as well).
Johnny Gaudreau also didn’t see any shifts in the third period. That could very well be a coach’s decision, but he did take a rough-looking cross-check to the back. Either way, it’s a pretty terrible night for the often-sensational line of Gaudreau, Hudler and Sean Monahan.
The Flames need to search long and hard for positives beyond “it’s just one game” and the continued scoring success of Sam Bennett (who scored Calgary’s lone goal). Perhaps “we’ve been in trying positions before” will work, though.
That said, if Game 1 is any indication, this could be an ugly fall for one of the league’s genuine surprise stories.
It also might be a sign that the Ducks are very deserving of the West’s top seed …
From the Associated Press:
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman doesn’t believe Winnipeg Jets fans were being “sexist in the slightest” by comparing Anaheim Ducks forward Corey Perry to pop singer Katy Perry.
Bettman likens the chants to goalies being called “sieves.” The commissioner was in Winnipeg on Monday for the chants during Game 3 of the first-round playoff series.
Predictably, Bettman’s remarks have ignited a media firestorm, with Yahoo Sports’ Greg Wyshynski going so far as to call them “rage-inducing.”
The Wall Street Journal has a more detailed breakdown of the exchange between Bettman and reporters.
Frankly, we wish the commissioner had just acknowledged how the chant could be seen as sexist and how some people might have been put off by it, even if it wasn’t the worst thing to have ever been chanted at a hockey game.
Following Wednesday’s 6-1 whipping of Minnesota in Game 4 of their opening round series, Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock had a telling quote:
“This is our game. It’s not our best game. We can play a lot better than we played today. We’ve still got things we’ve got to work on, but this is our game.
“We’re going to play this game and if it’s good enough, we’re going to put it out there, and if we win with it, great. If we don’t win with it, so be it. But this is our game.”
If Wednesday was truly indicative of the way the Blues want to play, might want to keep an eye on what Kevin Shattenkirk does moving forward.
Why? Well, Shattenkirk assisted on three of St. Louis’ six goals last night, continuing a theme that’s been present throughout this series; all told, he’s recorded helpers on seven of the Blues’ 12 goals and is currently tied with Anaheim’s Corey Perry for the playoff scoring lead.
Shattenkirk is also the first St. Louis blueliner to have six assists in a series since Hall of Famer Al MacInnis did it in 16 years ago.
Part of Shattenkirk’s Game 4 outburst came from a subtle move by Hitchcock. Hitch moved the 26-year-old back onto a defensive pairing with Carl Gunnarsson and the two fared pretty well, emerging with solid possession metrics (while allowing Jay Bouwmeester and Alex Pietrangelo to reunite as a pairing, which was also a boon for the Blues.)
While Shattenkirk was quick to deflect praise onto his teammates following the win, his comments said plenty about the Blues’ top talent coming through in a crucial moment.
“Our best players played well. Our whole lineup played well I think,” Shattenkirk said. “We got something from everyone tonight.”
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
Ottawa Senators rookie Curtis Lazar has been living with veteran defenseman Chris Phillips this season. With Phillips undergoing season-ending back surgery on Tuesday, Lazar sketched a get well soon message for his landlord.
Editor’s Note: Play one-day fantasy hockey tonight! Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $25,000 league for Wednesday’s NHL games. It’s just $2 to join and first place wins $2,000. Starts tonight at 7:00pm ET. Play Now!
Here’s another look at the highlights from Tuesday night’s triple overtime game between the Nashville Predators and Chicago Blackhawks, which went into the early hours of Wednesday before Brent Seabrook scored the winner.
With the Edmonton winning the NHL Draft Lottery and likely selecting Connor McDavid in June, hockey insider Darren Dreger says Oilers GM Craig MacTavish will be busy this summer doing some “big game hunting” in an effort to address some of his team’s needs. (TSN)
Dustin Byfuglien was on the ice for three of the Anaheim goals in Game 3 and took an undisciplined penalty for his blow to Corey Perry following the Ducks 2-1 goal in the second period. The 30-year-old has been held off the score sheet while registering a minus-3 rating and four penalty minutes through the first three games of the series. All this is has led Matt Larkin over at The Hockey News to write that Byfuglien is hurting his team. (THN)
TSN Radio1200’s Matt Kaunisviita produced a Bob Dylan parody song to “Like A Rolling Stone” titled, “And The Rookie Stone…” referencing Sens’ rookie Mark Stone. (TSN 1200)