In the Ducks 1st 10 games of the season, they had 7 wins and 3 losses. I figured that would probably be their best 10 game stretch of the season. Hopefully they would equal that output again later in the season, but I wasn't expecting a better stretch. And then in their 2nd 10 game stretch of the season the Ducks went 8-1-1. Just 10 games later and the Ducks had already put together a better 10 game stretch. I was nicely surprised. Once again, I figured that the Ducks had put together their best 10 game stretch of the season. I also knew that at some point the Ducks would have a bad stretch of games, and that happened in games 21-30 when the Ducks picked up only 3 wins. This was when the team was injured the most and was also going through a nasty flu bug. The Ducks were a better team than that stretch, but every team goes through rough patches, and I figured that this was the Ducks time to do so, and I hoped that they would rebound in games 31-40. And damn, did they ever. Since their shootout loss to Los Angeles on December 3rd, the Ducks have won 10 straight games to set a new franchise record (the old record of 7 straight games had already been tied earlier this season). Once again, the Ducks found a way to surprise me. I didn't think they would beat their 8-1-1 stretch, but they just demolished that mark by going 10-0 in their last 10 games. The Ducks have been winning in several different ways, and it's been a lot of fun to watch (but because of the holidays and a lot of games taking place in the eastern time zone, I wasn't able to watch as much Ducks hockey as I would have liked too).
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As usual, I'll start with individual stats through the last 10 games.
The leading goal scorer for the team was Corey Perry with 6 goals. Ryan Getzlaf and Saku Koivu were tied for 2nd with 5 goals, and Andrew Cogliano was 4th with 4 goals. As usual, Getzlaf and Perry keep scoring goals and remaining at the top of the goal scoring list. The defense chipped in with 6 goals, 2 of them coming from Cam Fowler
The leading assist man over the last 10 games was a huge surprise, and I did a bit of a double take when I saw that Daniel Winnik led the team with 9 assists in the last 10 games. Getzlaf was 2nd with 7 assists and Cogliano was 3rd with 6 assists. The fact that Winnik led the team in assists and both Cogliano and Koivu scored so many goals shows how good the Ducks 3rd line has been during their 10 game winning streak, and one of the biggest reasons for the Ducks recent winning ways.
The points leader for the Ducks was Getzlaf with 12 points, Cogliano and Perry were tied for 2nd with 10 points each, and Koivu and Winnik were tied for 4th with 9 points. Based upon goals, assists, and points, it' clear that after Getzlaf and Perry, the most dangerous players for the Ducks was their 3rd line during their 10 game winning streak.
The +/- leader for the Ducks was Cogliano with a +10 rating! Rookie Hampus Lindholm was 2nd with a +9 rating and Koivu was 3rd with a +8 rating. No Ducks player had a minus rating, though Dave Steckel (4 games), Jakob Silfverberg (5 games), Patrick Maroon (4 games), Tim Jackman (5 games), Emerson Etem (2 games), and Matt Beleskey (9 games) all had an even rating.
The Ducks only scored 3 powerplay goals during their last 10 games, 2 of them from Perry and 1 from Getzlaf. I'm not sure how the Ducks won 10 games in a row scoring only 3 powerplay goals, but their special teams play needs to significantly improve in the 2nd half of the season.
The Ducks scored 2 shorthanded goals, with Fowler and Koivu picking up them up.
The 10 gamewinning goals were spread out throughout the lineup. Kyle Palmieri and Corey Perry each had 2, and after them, Fowler, Getzlaf, Koivu, Lindholm, and Dustin Penner all had 1 game winning goal.
Perry led the way with 35 shots on goal, Koivu was 2nd with 23 shots on goal, and Getzlaf and Palmieri were tied for 3rd with 21 shots on goal.
The Ducks faceoff numbers were not good over the last 10 games. Perreault won 54.4% of his draws, and after him, there is a huge drop off. Steckel did win 58.3% of his draws, but he took less than 40 draws and only played because Perreault missed several games with injury. Koivu won exactly half of his draws, and Bonino was 3rd winning only 46.3% of his draws. Those numbers need to improve if the Ducks need to keep winning.
In goal, Jonas Hiller played in 8 games and won all 8 of them, tying a Ducks franchise record with 8 straight wins (set by Viktor Fasth last season). He faced 194 shots and allowed 15 goals for a 0.923 save percentage. One of his wins came in a shootout. Fasth is still on IR and did not play during the last 10 games. Frederik Andersen played in the other 2 games and picked up the win in both. He faced 49 shots and allowed 5 goals for a .898 save percentage, the lowest numbers that he has posted this season.
And now, the team stats. Over the last 10 games the Ducks scored 36 goals for an average of 3.6 goals per game, more than a goal per game more than the 2.5 goals a game they scored in games 21-30. The Ducks allowed 20 goals for an average of 2 goals against per game, almost a full goal against per game less than the previous 10 games when the Ducks allowed 2.9 goals against per game. It's unsurprising given their 10 game winning streak that both the Ducks offense and defense would see such significant improvements. The powerplay saw a huge dip, scoring only 3 times during 25 chances for a 12% success rate. Well down from the over 25% success rate that the powerplay had during the previous 10 games. The Ducks killed off 86% of their penalties, allowing only 4 powerplay goals on 28 chances. The Ducks penalty kill has come a long way from the start of the season and one of the reasons for the Ducks winning so many games in a row. The Ducks longest winning streak was 10 games and they did not lose any games. They had no shutouts in the last 10 games.
I can't choose the best forward in the Ducks last 10 games, instead, I have to give that honor to the entire 3rd line of Koivu, Cogliano, and Winnik. Getzlaf and Perry were great, but the 3rd line was the reason why the Ducks won 10 games in a row. All 3 players see the ice while the Ducks are shorthanded and a major reason why the Ducks pk was so strong in the last 10 games. All 3 put up huge offensive numbers, and their line goes against opposing teams top lines and outscored them pretty much on a nightly basis over the Ducks last 10 games. Cogliano became the 5th Ducks player this season to hit the 10 goal mark (he's now 3rd on the team, behind only Getzlaf and Perry) and is 4th in points on the team. Winnik's 17 assists on the season are a new career high for him, and he is now 4th on the team, behind Getzlaf, Perry, and Fowler. While Koivu was injured, the Ducks tried several different players as the 3rd line center (Winnick, Bonino, Steckel), and they played well, but having Koivu here just really solidifies this line and makes them truly dangerous. He's a very smart player who just knows where he is supposed to be. While his offensive numbers aren't what they used to be, he is putting together a very nice season for himself.
The worst Ducks forward over the last 10 games was Dustin Penner. He put up only 2 points (a goal and assist) and that is simply not enough for someone who sees most of his shifts with Getzlaf and Perry. He even lost his spot a couple times to Palmieri and Maroon and was scratched for a game. He doesn't have to score to be effective, but when he is skating on the top line, he needs to be playing better and putting up more points.
The biggest surprise at forward was Kyle Palmieri. He has had a disappointing season so far. I was hoping he would take that next step and become a 20 goal scorer, but so far, through the 1st 40 games of the season he only has 6 goals and has been scratched 5 times. Not exactly a season to write home about. But going home is exactly what he needed. Against NJ he played a great game and scored a beautiful goal in overtime, and the next game picked up the gamewinner against the Islanders. So while he hasn't had a great season, those 2 games with the game winning goal in each were enough to make him the biggest surprise at forward over the Ducks last 10 games.
The Ducks played a great team defensive game over their last 10 games, making it difficult to pick out just 1 player as the best defenseman. So instead I'm going to pick both Fowler and Ben Lovejoy, the Ducks new shut down pair (something that I would not have believed when the season started). Together they are limiting opposing forwards chances and adding some offense as well. Of Lovejoy's 9 assists, 5 of them came in the last 10 games, and Fowler scored 2 of his 4 goals in the last 10 games, including 1 shorthanded goal.
In 8 of the Ducks last 10 games they have given up exactly 2 goals, in one game they gave up 3, and in one game they gave up 1 goal. Because the team allowed only 2 goals against per game and won all 10 games, I'm not going to pick out the worst Ducks defenseman for the last 10 games. Honestly, the entire unit played very well and I simply can't point to one player and say that they were the worst Ducks defenseman during the last 10 games.
The most surprising thing about the Ducks defense wasn't 1 player in particular. Instead, it was their overall health. Francois Beauchemin came back from IR, and no one else got injured. While Sbisa and Souray are still out, the defense actually got healthier and didn't lose anyone, I'd call that a huge surprise based on how this season has gone so far.
Not only was that the Ducks best 10 game stretch of the season, that was their best 10 game stretch in franchise history. This team has never won more than 7 games in a row, so winning 10 was a truly special treat. The Ducks forward units are healthy for the 1st time all season. The defense is still missing Sbisa and Souray and goaltender Viktor Fasth is still out, but this is the healthiest that the Ducks have been all season, and it's one of the reasons for the winning streak. This is a team with a lot of depth and talent, and it's shown as players have been filling in for each other. But now that the team is healthy, a lot of these players are still chipping in. Lindholm and Vatanen are still playing great on the blueline, the 3rd line is playing it's best hockey of the season, and Getzlaf and Perry have continued to roll. This 10 game winning streak has been absolutely amazing and a really special thing to watch. It will come to an end, and this stretch of games is one that the Ducks will not be able to top, but that's okay. This run is one of those special things for fans to always treasure.
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