Can you feel it in the air, hockey is back well sort of, not real hockey just a lot of prospects getting a taste of their first semi-NHL action. I have missed the familar sounds of skates cutting into the ice, the slap of sticks, and the thuds as booming slapshots are directed to the corner.
The Ducks went to town on the Phoenix Coyotes in their preseason opener at Honda Center. In the first 3 minutes the Ducks had a 3 goal lead. The first goal came off the line pairing of Jakob Silfverberg, Peter Holland, and Teemu Selanne. The goal came off a great pass from Holland to Silfverberg who then fed it out to the trailing Selanne for a tap in from the slot just 58 seconds into the game. The next goal came off the stick of Sami Vatanen after the Coyotes turned it over at the blue line. Vatanen walked in and roofed it glove side of the Coyotes rookie netminder. The 3rd goal came off the stick of tough guy Nolan Yonkman. It was a shorthanded goal off a big slapshot with Etem screening in the high slot. Daniel Winnik added a goal near the end of the period on a rebound off an Andrew Cogliano shot, barely poking it into the goal.
Gilbert Brule who is looking to make a comeback had a rough game having a -3 and taking 2 penalties in the first period alone. The Ducks got ample powerplay time but ulltimately only converted once off a Hampus Lindholm shot from the point in the second period. Guillaume Latendresse broke Hiller’s shutout in the second with a wicked wrist shot after the Ducks were unable to clear the puck. The final tally for the Ducks came off a Rickard Rakell rebound poked in by Emerson Etem, incredibly similar to the Winnik goal. Andersen started the 3rd period and was scored on by Brown of the Coyotes on a shot on the glove side. Andersen also made a key stop on a great wraparound. Possibly the effects of the smaller nets this year making the wraparound more viable. Brad Staubitz dropped the gloves and had a convincing takedown win after landing a few good punches. Ducks finished the game with a 6-2 victory and all of the systems appear to look more sound defensively. The Ducks all had active sticks in the neutral zone, and the team looked good down low in their own zone.
Hampus Lindholm looked good but was trying to do too much. He would take shots and pinch too often, something he will be working on as he matures. Vatanen showed much more upside being paired with Allen, allowing him to join the rush and seal off the players down low while Allen cleared out the front of the net. Silfverberg was tenacious on the forecheck and was strong on the cycle. Rakell made some great dekes and some good passes, definitely looks close to NHL ready. Emerson Etem and Cogliano used their speed to keep pucks deep and may be a good line pairing and PK group. Stefan Noesen didn’t get a lot of ice time but definitely looks motivated and wants to play his physical game but didn’t get many opportunities for that. Winnik was also playing at center and looked in good position and looked decent in the faceoff dot. Peter Holland crashed into the boards late in the 2nd period and put little weight on his right ankle, he came back in the third. He and Rakell appear to be neck and neck for a 4th line center roster spot.
We have almost arrived at the 2013-14 regular season. If you’re looking to catch some games this year, you can find Anaheim Ducks tickets for up to 50% off on select games this year.
Follow me on twitter @surreal98
Tags: Anaheim Ducks Andrew Cogliano Brad Staubitz Bryan Allen Daniel Winnik Emerson Etem Frederik Andersen Gilbert Brule Guillaume Latendresse Hampus Lindholm Jakob Silfverberg Jonas Hiller Peter Holland Phoenix Coyotes Rickard Rakell Sami Vatanen Stefan Noesen Teemu Selanne