The Ducks might have a real team
Turns out all the Ducks needed was a little bit of a home stretch to find their bearings. The Ducks took on their division rival the Phoenix Coyotes at the Honda Center and won a thrilling 3-2 contest. In the 2nd period of the game Cam Fowler scored his first ever NHL goal with a nice slapshot with a screen assist to Corey Perry. About five minutes later Fowler went coast to coast for almost his 2nd goal but instead he just missed and was driven hard into the boards by Shane Doan. Fowler left the game and did not return at that point. They haven’t said anything about his injury but it is not expected to be serious. Speaking of Shane Doan, Doan laid a blindside hit on Dan Sexton later in the game. There was no penalty called on the play but the league is looking into a possible suspension. Toni Lydman, in his first game as a Duck, added the next goal from a pretty sick pass by Bobby Ryan to make it 2-0. Bobby Ryan actually had an assist on each Ducks goal.
In the 3rd the Ducks watched their lead disappear as the Coyotes got goals by Scottie Upshall and Eric Belanger. A few minutes later Getzlaf fed Corey Perry in stride to setup a beautiful goal right through LaBarbera’s five hole. In true Ducks’ fashion they made fans sweat out the last few minutes. If it wasn’t for Hiller coming up with some crucial saves, this game probably would have headed into overtime. Once again Hiller faced almost 40 shots clocking in with 38.
The Ducks defense looks to finally be almost complete. With the exception of Andy Sutton the defense is set. Luca Sbisa played in only two games so far this season and was sent down to the minors. Toni Lydman was finally cleared to join the team after his double vision finally cleared up. Andreas Lilja, formally with the Red Wings, was recently signed but unable to come to the states because of visa issues. Those have since been taken care of and he played his first game along with Lydman. Brendan Mikkelson looks to be the odd man out with the new defensive pairings. When Andy Sutton returns sometime in Novemeber, it’s likely he will take either Paul Mara’s or Sheldon Brookbank’s defensive spot. Either way I hope the units can gel a little bit and cut down on the number of shots Hiller needs to face.
The Ducks now embark on a seven day four game roadtrip. They face Columbus, Philadelphia, Detroit and Dallas. Though it is still early, I believe how the Ducks fare in this roadtrip will set the tone for how successful the rest of their season will be.