The Anaheim Ducks are an interesting team, to say the least.
Sixty-six games into the season and the Ducks sit atop the NHL standings with a 42-17-7 record.
Yet compared to the other teams in the race for the Presidents’ Trophy, Anaheim’s statistics are remarkably, um, unremarkable:
— Ninth in goals per game
— 18th in goals-against
— 22nd-ranked power play, with the 13th-ranked PK
— 16th in shots per game, 15th in shots against
— 15th in score-adjusted Fenwick
As we’ve noted before on PHT, the one thing the Ducks have done really well is win one-goal games, in which they’re a rather implausible 26-0-7.
Where are we going with all this?
Well, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the Ducks themselves had doubts that they were as good as their record suggested. Hence, all the trades they made leading up to the deadline, acquiring the likes of James Wisniewski, Simon Despres, and Korbinian Holzer for the blue line, as well as forwards Tomas Fleischmann and Jiri Sekac.
“It’s interesting. They really like what they did,” Friedman told Sportsnet 960 yesterday, per Nichols on Hockey. “And it’s pretty clear – and I didn’t really realize it until I spoke to them – they think that their success was a little bit of a mirage. That they felt that [goalies Frederik Andersen and John Gibson] were absolutely saving them and they didn’t think they were very good.
“They felt very strongly that they could handle themselves against the heavier teams. The Kings, they felt okay with. The Blues, they felt okay with. But the really good-skating teams – the Blackhawks and some of the Eastern teams that saw them recently like Tampa – they thought they were just terrible against them. They couldn’t get the puck and they had nothing they could do.”
The Ducks, by the way, have won seven of their last eight heading into tonight’s game versus Pittsburgh.