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.
The Bergen Record sat down for an exclusive (and lengthy) interview with new New Jersey Devils GM Ray Shero (still kind of weird to see any name other than Lou Lamoriello, right?). The basic theme: he needs more time to really flesh out his plan. (Bergen Record)
Some might not realize just how long Lamoriello’s been in the driver’s seat for the Devils. This NHL.com timeline goes back to 1987, so the answer is “longer than some readers have been alive.” (NHL.com)
Would you pump up Anaheim Ducks forward Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry for their leadership qualities? The Los Angeles Times is doing so. (Los Angeles Times)
Trading Sidney Crosby and/or Evgeni Malkin is just crazy talk. (Sportsnet)
Braden Holtby: money goaltender. (TSN)
5 — The number of power-play goals for the Anaheim Ducks in these playoffs. That’s been huge for them, especially after they struggled with the man advantage during the regular season (28th, 15.7%). On paper, the Ducks’ power play should be deadly. Corey Perry is one of the top snipers in hockey, Ryan Getzlaf is one of the top play-making forwards, and Sami Vatanen is the kind of creative blue-liner that can open lanes from up top. Those three have combined for 11 PP points in six games.
45.6% — Minnesota’s Corsi close, the lowest percentage of all 16 playoff teams. The Wild were one of the top possession teams during the regular season, but facing the Blues and Blackhawks in the postseason has been a challenge. The Wild, like the Ducks, have taken advantage of their power-play opportunities, scoring six times on just 17 opportunities. But they’ll likely need to control a bit more of the five-on-five play if they hope to get back in the series.
.922 — Montreal’s team save percentage, No. 8 out of 16. The Habs had the highest team save percentage (.926) out of 30 during the regular season. And while you can’t say Carey Price has been bad in the playoffs, because he definitely hasn’t been, the Canadiens simply don’t score enough for him to be anything but great.
6 — Times out of nine that the Washington Capitals have surrendered the first goal. They’re 2-4 in that situation and 3-0 when they score first. As a whole, the team that’s scored first in these playoffs has gone 35-20. So yeah, for the most part, it’s been pretty important to get that 1-0 lead.
6.3% — Five-on-five shooting percentage for the New York Rangers, 12th out of 16. The Blueshirts finished the regular season at 8.8 percent, fourth out of 30, with some arguing there was bound to be a regression. Rick Nash, in a related story, has just one goal on 25 shots.
The Anaheim Ducks haven’t advanced past the second round of the playoffs since 2007. There’s no guarantee that they’ll do any better this year, but they’ve put themselves in a very good position with their 3-0 victory over Calgary Sunday night.
Flames goaltender Karri Ramo made his first career playoff start at the age of 28 and at times it looked like he might steal this game for Calgary. The Ducks bombarded him with 20 shots in the first period, but he turned aside all but one of them.
The exception was Matt Beleskey’s one-timer on a 2-on-1 opportunity:
That proved to be all Anaheim needed because at the other end of the ice, Frederik Andersen was also at the top of his game. The Ducks goaltender kicked out all 29 shots he faced to earn his first career postseason shutout. He has a commanding 1.64 GAA and .942 save percentage in six playoff contests this year.
He’s a big part of the reason that Anaheim swept the Winnipeg Jets in the first round and possesses a 2-0 series lead over Calgary, but he’s far from the only reason. Corey Perry has a league-leading 13 points in the playoffs while Ryan Getzlaf reached the 10-point mark with his two assists tonight.
The Ducks have a long road ahead of them, but they couldn’t have asked for a better start.
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 …