Anaheim Ducks Fan Mailbag: 11/03/2014 – 11/09/2014

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November 7, 2014; Anaheim, CA, USA; Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Kesler (17) moves in for a shot on goal as Arizona Coyotes defenseman Connor Murphy (5) helps goalie Mike Smith (41) defend during the second period at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

This past week was not particularly great for the Anaheim Ducks. The team missed Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry because of flu-like symptoms and netminder Frederik Andersen with leg tightness on Wednesday’s game against the New York Islanders, but the Ducks were able to salvage a point in the standings with a furious rally before falling 3-2 in overtime on a goal from John Tavares. On Friday, Getzlaf and Andersen both returned to the lineup, while Perry sat out again with the flu. However, Francois Beauchemin battled sickness, yet still played, as the Ducks blew a 2-0 lead and lost to the Arizona Coyotes 3-2 in the shootout. On Sunday, Nick Bonino and the Vancouver Canucks came into the Honda Center for the first meeting between the two teams since making the blockbuster deal that sent Ryan Kesler and a 2015 3rd round pick to Anaheim for Bonino, Luca Sbisa, and 2014 1st and 3rd round picks. Perry was moved to Injured Reserve with the flu, retroactive to Wednesday, while Beauchemin and Cam Fowler both sat out. Fowler suffered a lower-body injury against Arizona, presumably to the left knee that he suffered an MCL sprain to in March of last season. The Ducks lost another lead and another game, falling 2-1 in the shootout to Vancouver.

Despite these injuries and a winless week, there are still positives for Anaheim. Defenseman Sami Vatanen has really been a force for Anaheim, leading all Anaheim defensemen with ten points in 16 games played, all of which have come on the power-play. His ten power-play points are the most among all NHL defensemen and tied for third among all NHL players, and his four power-play goals are tied for third in the NHL, only behind Pittsburgh Penguins forwards Evgeni Malkin and Chris Kunitz.

Kesler is third on the Ducks in scoring, with 11 points, including a three game point streak (three assists). He is currently 10th in the NHL among centers in faceoff win% and 7th among those who have taken a minimum of 200 draws. Kesler also has the fifth most faceoff wins, with 180 through 16 games. He is second among Ducks’ forwards in ice time to Getzlaf, currently leads all NHL forwards in minutes played, and is 14th among all NHL forwards in ice time per game, at 20:12.

The Ducks had a strong week on special teams, going 3/7 on the power-play on their homestand thus far. This bumped their power-play conversion rate to 20.7%, good for 13th in the league. The Ducks also sport a top-10 penalty-kill at 84.9%, which is tied for the 9th best mark in the NHL. Anaheim has killed the last six power-plays they have faced. These are improvements for the Ducks, as the team was only 22nd in power-play conversion last season and 13th on the penalty kill.

Kyle Palmieri is nearing his return from the high ankle sprain he suffered in the preseason, giving the Ducks another forward to utilize in the lineup. With Fowler and Beauchemin ailing, Hampus Lindholm and Vatanen have shouldered the load and responded brilliantly for Anaheim, which needed its trio of young defensemen to improve this season. Lindholm is second on the team in ice-time per game at 22:46, while Vatanen leads the team with 33 blocked shots. Though the Ducks have been hampered a bit by injuries in the early going, their depth has stepped up and played well for flashes, making Anaheim a better and deeper team when healthy.

Another eventful week has passed, so it’s time to answer questions for the Pucks of a Feather mailbag. Again, editor Jason Byun will answer questions that have been asked about the team.