And just like that, the 1st 20 games are on the books. Anaheim has a 15-4-1 record for 31 points, currently leading the league. As I did after the 1st 10 games of the season, I'll look back and see how the team has done over games 11-20, and see where they improved and where they regressed. I'm hoping that by breaking up the season like this I'll be able to get an idea of how good this team really is.
To begin with, individual stats:
The leading goal scorer for the Ducks was Ryan Getzlaf with 7 goals, followed by Corey Perry with 6 goals, and Andrew Cogliano with 5 goals (he's currently on a career high 4 game goal scoring streak). Also, the defense finally scored, with 5 goals coming from the Ducks blueline, a huge improvement from the 0 through the 1st 10 games.
Dustin Penner led the team with 7 assists, followed by Getzlaf, Perry, and Devante Smith-Pelly, all of whom had 6 assists.
The leading point getter for the Ducks was Getzlaf with 13 points, closely followed by Perry with 12 points, with Penner being a distant 3rd with 8 points. What's most impressive about Getzlaf's play is that he has missed the last 2 games with an injury. This is also good news for the Ducks top line, they are clearly playing well together and putting up the points. And while it may seem problematic that no one besides the top line is in the top 3 scoring for the last 10 games, I'm not concerned. This team still has a ton of talent and points are coming from all over the place. The defense chipped in more, Smith-Pelly had 7 points after being called up, Nick Bonino, Cogliano, and Cam Fowler all had 6 points. While the top line had a dominant 10 games, the rest of the team was scoring as well.
Over the last 10 games, Getzlaf led the team with a +10 rating, followed by Perry with a +9, and Penner and Beauchemin tied for 3rd with a +8 rating.
Both Fowler and Getzlaf scored 2 powerplay goals, and Emerson Etem had the only other powerplay goal during the last 10 games. So while that's a little more than the 1st 10 games, the Ducks powerplay is still abysmal.
Perry led the way with 3 gamewinning goals over the last 10 games, and Getzlaf and Kyle Palmieri both had 2.
Perry took 39 shots in the last 10 games, averaging almost 4 shots a game! Coming in at a distant 2nd is Getzlaf with 28 (so glad that he's shooting the puck more!), followed by Cogliano with 22 shots. Saku Koivu was the only player in the last 10 games who played and did not record a shot on goal, but he only played in 1 full game, he was injured in his 2nd game.
Among who centers who took at least 50 draws in the last 10 games Getzlaf led the way, having won just over 53% of his draws. Rookie callup Rickard Rakell was 2nd, winning 51.59% of his draws, and Mathieu Perreault was 3rd, winning just over 51% of his faceoffs.
With Viktor Fasth injured, and Jonas Hiller missing a couple of games because of illness, rookie Frederik Andersen stepped in and played very well. Despite picking up the loss in Florida, he still went 5-1 in 6 games with 0.935 save percentage. He faced 169 and only 11 pucks got by him. He has certainly been good enough to justify his starts, though once Hiller and Fasth are healthy, expect him to see a lot less action, if he isn't simply sent to Norfolk. Hiller played in 4 games and went 3-0-1. He faced 94 shots and stopped 85 of them for a .904 save percentage. His numbers weren't great over the last 10 games, but he still got 3 wins in 4 games. Once he's healthy, expect his numbers to increase. Fasth is still injured and didn't play in any games. He is currently in Norfolk on a conditioning assignment. However, I heard that he left one of the games with an injury and I have yet to hear an update. Hopefully he gets well soon.
And now, for the team stats. Through the last 10 games the Ducks averaged 3.5 goals for per game and 2 goals against per game. In comparison, the Ducks scored 3.2 goals per game and let in 2.7 goals per game, so this team actually improved both offensively and defensively in the last 10 games over the 1st 10 games, which is reflected in an even better record (17 points vs 14 points). While still bad, the powerplay did go 5 for 32 over the last 10 games, scoring on 15.63% of their chances. So, that's still pretty bad, but it's certainly better than the 7.7% the Ducks were scoring in the 1st 10 games. The Ducks were shorthanded 27 times and let in 5 powerplay goals, for a penalty kill percentage of 81.48. This is also up from the 75.7% through the 1st 10 games. The team's longest winning streak was 5 games (Nov. 2nd-Nov 10th) and their longest losing streak was 1 game (twice: Oct. 31st and Nov. 12th). The Ducks recorded no shutouts and were not shutout in any of the 10 games.
There's no question, the best forward for the Ducks over the last 10 games was the captain Ryan Getzlaf. Not only did he lead the team in goals and points and record his 1st career hat trick, he was just dominant with the puck. Players couldn't take the puck from him. It's always been said that he can be as good as he wants to be, and his last 8 games were some of the best that I have ever seen him play. He hit other players, he stole the puck, he made great passes, and scored some amazing goals. And, even better, he was shooting the puck a lot. Hopefully he gets healthy again soon and continues playing like that. If he does, he might even give Crosby a run for his money in the Art Ross race.
To me, the weakest forward over the last 10 games was Patrick Maroon. He only played in 8 games (he was scratched in the other 2) and found the back of the net once for his only point during that span. There are times when he has looked great on the ice, hitting other players and making nice passes, and there are times when he's been invisible, which is hard because he's a big kid (6'3” 230 pounds). It's not that he played bad, he just didn't play as consistent as I know he can be. He reminds me of a younger Penner. If he can get his game together, he can be a great force on the ice (then again, I'd argue that Penner has never truly figured his game out either).
The biggest surprise at forward in the last 10 games has to be Devante Smith-Pelly. He broke in with the Ducks a couple of years ago, got injured in the World Juniors Tournament, and never really found his game again. He started this year in Norfolk, but because of the plethora of injuries in Anaheim (the number just keeps growing, it's staggering), he has gotten his chance. He has scored 1 goal and 6 assists, but, more important than that, he has stepped up to play on the 2nd line wing next to Perreault and Selanne and looked great. He's forechecking hard and making some great passes and crashing the net. When the team gets healthy (if it ever does), he has made it very hard for the Ducks to send him back down. To me, he has earned his spot on this team. He needs to keep playing like this, and, as long as he does, he should stay in Anaheim.
Through the last 10 games the best defenseman for the Ducks has been Cam Fowler. After the 1st 10 games I said that Fowler needed to be better, and he has. After starting the year with 3 assists, he had 2 goals and 4 assists in the last 10 games. But, even more important than his offensive numbers has been his overall play. He is playing even better defensively and actually hit a few players. He's certainly not a wrecking ball on the ice or some defensive stalwart, but the coaching staff is using him in all situations and he is earning his ice time.
It's hard to name the weakest defenseman through the last 10 games. As a group, they have all played very well. I wasn't able to watch the loss against Boston, and against Florida, I only saw the 3rd goal given up, which I lay at the feet of Bryan Allen and Luca Sbisa. But, if I had to pick 1 player, it would probably be Sbisa. It's not that he's been bad, it's more that he's rusty (only played in 5 games this season) and the rest of the defense has been very solid. I do think that he has gotten better as he's played more, so hopefully his game will continue get back to the level it once was.
The surprise on the blueline is still Hampus Lindholm. He scored his 1st 2 career goals (with his 1st being witnessed by his father!) and had 2 assists in the last 10 games. His skating is simply amazing, and perhaps only 2nd to Fowler on the Ducks blueline. His confidence is just skyrocketing and he is constantly leading the rush up the ice, making smart passes and hustling to get back on defense. He leads all rookies with a +14 rating (yes, I know it's a flawed stat, but that's a damn impressive number, especially when you consider that the 2nd highest rookie has a rating of +7). Hopefully, he can turn into a real stud blueliner for this team.
And that is a look at the Ducks over their last 10 games, where they were actually better than their 1st 10 games, which I'm quite happy with. The Ducks started this season on fire, and have actually gotten better since then. While I know they won't keep this pace up over the entire season (there will be 10 game stretches where the team struggles, it happens to every team during the season), it's still a lot of fun and I'm going to enjoy it for as long as it lasts.