A few points of interest from yesterday’s game against San Jose:
– Monday’s game gave Ducks fans a glimpse of what they can expect from the team this season. Coach Randy Carlyle played a lineup that was close to what the opening night lineup will be, minus Ryan Getzlaf and Jonas Hiller. Other spare parts are interchangeable on the third and fourth lines, but I liked what I saw from the forward group yesterday.
– The Ducks did a very good job to stay out of the box last night, which obviously contributed to the win. The Sharks’ only goal came on the powerplay but didn’t have many opportunities after that. That being said, there is still one Ducks player that hasn’t learned to stay out of the box: Evgeny Artyukhin. He again took two minor penalties last night, to add to who knows how many others he’s received in the last few games. If Artyukhin doesn’t clean up his game, he’ll start finding the bench a lot more often during the regular season.
– Goalie J.S. Giguere had a very impressive game last night. With the exception of the goal at the end of the game, Giguere was solid throughout the night. The only other goal he gave up was when he was left alone with a wide open Benn Ferriero on a powerplay goal in the final second of the first period. After Giguere’s last performance I wrote that Hiller was leading the competition for starting goalie, by that race seems to be in a dead heat now.
– Bobby Ryan decided to stand up for teammate Corey Perry by starting a fight with Jaime McGinn. He must not remember a guy named Derick Brassard, who was well on his way to winning the rookie scoring title last year before he similarly started a fight to stick up for a teammate. The result was a season-ending shoulder injury to Brassard. While Ryan didn’t end up getting hurt, he could have. The Ducks’ fighters should stick up for teammates, not skill players, especially in a preseason game.
– Saku Koivu is getting more comfortable every time he steps on the ice. In the first period he feathered a backhand pass to Scott Niedermayer for a good scoring chance and later set up Teemu Selanne for a goal. Let’s hope we see that combination on the board more and more as the season progresses.
– Defenceman Luca Sbisa did not get very much ice time as the game progressed. Sbisa played under 14 minutes, while Brendan Mikkelson played over 20. Let’s all hope that Carlyle was just trying to send the young defenceman a message rather than preparing to send him down to the minors.