The Ducks Proved That A Physical Series Will Be In Their Favor
Apr 18, 2015; Anaheim, CA, USA; Winnipeg Jets right wing Chris Thorburn (22) and Anaheim Ducks defenseman Clayton Stoner (3) battle on the boards in the first period of game two of the first round of the the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
The Ducks and Jets first round matchup was absolutely brutal. No check went un finished and it seemed as though every player was out to deliver a message with a bone crushing hit. Nobody was safe in this series, if your head was not up and on a swivel you ended up face to face with the ice. The Ducks showed restraint however.
The Dustin Byfuglien cheap shot on Corey Perry in game 3 could have easily caused this series to get out of hand. Nothing more happened however because the Ducks did not retaliate and showed resistance and class, unlike Byfuglien. The playoffs can produce some heated moments and it is often the team with cooler heads that will prevail and move on to the next round. Any team that tries to get overly physical and rough with the Ducks should take a look at how it played out for “Big Buff” and the Jets.
Number Never Lie
The opening series was a hit parade. From big Clayton Stoner to the short speedy Andrew Cogliano, everyone got in on the action. The other western conference series have not been quite as physical however. Keep in mind that the Ducks and Jets only played 5 minutes and 12 seconds of overtime hockey in the opening round. Here are the hit numbers and average number of hits per game through the first 4 games of each western conference series.
|Total Number Of Hits Through 4 Games:
|Average Number Of Hits Per Game:
|Anaheim Vs. Winnipeg
|Chicago Vs. Nashville
|Minnesota Vs. St. Louis
|Calgary Vs. Vancouver
* Chicago and Nashville have played 68 minutes of overtime hockey.
Chicago and Nashville played 63 minutes more than the Ducks and Jets did. 63 more minutes and yet the Ducks versus Jets series still saw greater hit totals. Chicago has always been a team that can play physical but the Hawks will clearly be in for a rough ride if they meet the Ducks in the western conference finals.
The Ducks will face either Vancouver or Calgary in round 2. The Ducks alone had 173 hits in round 1 while the total number of hits in the Vancouver versus Calgary series through four games was only 194. Let me state that again, Ducks had 173 hits while Vancouver AND Calgary combined for 194 hits. Johnny Gaudreau should probably be worried if Calgary meets the Ducks in round 2.
The Ducks should no longer be afraid of any team. It is now the Ducks turn to smell the fear of any team coming out of the visiting locker room inside Honda Center.
Next: The Big 3