Perhaps those of us who predicted the Ducks to win the series aren’t that crazy after all…
Even most Ducks fans I know picked the Sharks to win this series. Perhaps some of them are reconsidering at this point. The Sharks were completely dominant (32-5-4) at home this season, but the Ducks shut them out in game 1 and won game 2, too. The Sharks have only scored 2 goals against the Ducks in two games and have gone 0-12 in the power play. The Ducks’ regular season penalty kill wasn’t that great (23rd in the NHL) and the Sharks’ power play was ranked 3rd, but the Ducks have figured out how to stop the Sharks on the power play.
Hiller has been absolutely amazing for the Ducks. He stopped 35 shots in game 1 and 42 shots in game 2. He has definitely been their number one star. Perhaps he wants to prove everyone who doubted that he has what it takes to lead a team in the playoffs wrong. He was in the top 5 for save percentage most of the season (just dropping out of the top 5 at the very end of the season, but remaining in 6th place) and is clearly capable of handling the pressure of the playoffs and being peppered with shots in the visiting team’s arena.
The Ducks had more penalties in both games against the Sharks, which isn’t surprising given their history, but they managed to get away with killing all 6 of the Sharks’ power plays.
Anaheim shot the puck a lot more in game 2 (26 shots in game 2 compared to 17 in game 1), but so did the Sharks (44 shots in game 2, 35 in game 1). The Ducks blocked 21 shots, too. Clearly, Randy Carlyle will want his team to shoot more and prevent the Sharks from shooting quite as much when they return home to face the Sharks in game 3 on Tuesday. He’ll also want the team to take fewer penalties (he’s been working on that forever), but the Ducks are winning and you can’t really argue with that.
If you missed the game for some reason tonight, look online to watch the goals – some of them were really great, particularly Bobby Ryan’s dive for his own rebound on the first goal for the Ducks.
See the rest on HockeyBuzz.
As a side note, I think those of us in southern California who have HD should not be punished for living in southern CA. Since FSN has chosen to only air the Ducks’ playoff games on FSN PT and not their HD channel, those of us in the area can’t see the game in HD even though Versus is showing it everywhere else. I think if FSN is going to choose to air games in HD their ratings should suffer. I would pick the HD version of the game any day. Heck, I’d even pick the HD version of a Kings game over being able to have Bob Miller and Jim Fox’s comentary (though if given that choice I might try to watch more games live and have the sound coming from their broadcast).