The Anaheim Ducks lit the lamp with a 3-1 victory last night against the San Jose Sharks! Who is this team? Where did they come from? Fun hockey is finally back at Honda Center!
It was only a season ago when we cringed as the Anaheim Ducks tried to keep up with their opponents. We longed for the day when fun hockey would return to Honda Center and our team would be the one mesmerizing the crowd. Yesterday was that day, my friends! This may only be the second game of the season, but there is a lot to be hopeful about going forward.
The Anaheim Ducks started the season off on the right foot Thursday night with a win against the Arizona Coyotes. Nevertheless, the game was a race for each team; a race to find themselves, and the Anaheim Ducks just happened to do it a little more quickly than the ‘Yotes. Going into the Sharks game, there was quickly a vast difference from opening night. The team looked refreshed, fast, spirited, and relentless.
Anaheim Ducks Make Hockey Fun Again
One of the best ways to take control of a game is to score the first goal, and the Ducks did just that early in the first with a goal from defenseman Michael Del Zotto. Ondrej Kase intercepted a pass from goaltender Aaron Dell; anticipating the goal as he put the puck on Del Zotto’s stick. Catching Dell completely out of position, Del Zotto ripped a one-timer into the wide-open net.
To make the first period even more entertaining, Nicolas Deslauriers dropped the gloves with San Jose Sharks defenseman, Brendan Dillon. As the two of them exchanged several blows, the energy in Honda Center was electric. The Anaheim Ducks came out on top in the first, but the game would get even more exciting from there.
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As we entered the second period, it seemed as though the days of dump and chase were far behind us. The Anaheim Ducks were quick to make decisions, tenacious, and lively. And, what would we do without one of the best NHL goaltenders currently in our net?
Logan Couture would open up the scoring for the San Jose Sharks less than five minutes into the middle period. A pass from Erik Karlsson would wind up on his tape, and he would rocket a top-shelf snapshot past John Gibson, tieing things up. San Jose wouldn’t be celebrating for very long, however. Our own captain, Ryan Getzlaf, would respond just moments later.
After a rough home opener, Getzlaf looked like a different player against San Jose. A pass from Ondrej Kase forced him to think quickly. Aaron Dell was way too far out of his crease. Getzlaf gets behind the defense, and stickhandles the puck round around Dell, crashing into the boards as he scores his first goal of the season.
Adam Henrique would close the scoring for both teams with an unassisted goal late in the second period. The Anaheim Ducks forced another turnover, putting relentless pressure on the San Jose Sharks. Henrique skates in towards the net and dekes to his backhand. His slick skating paired with his incredible vision allows him to roof the goal off of the post, giving his team a 3-1 lead.
Positive Changes Produce Positive Results
Winning hockey games is great and all, but we saw last season that winning games early on doesn’t necessarily mean the team is enjoyable to watch. Nor does it mean they deserved to win. The Anaheim Ducks started off the season winning last year, but the team looked rough. The games weren’t much fun to watch because we knew, statistically, the team should have lost, but their opponents were just a little unlucky because of John Gibson and other factors.
This season, things are looking vastly different. Again, it’s only the second game of the season, which means there’s plenty of time for things to go downhill. Nevertheless, we will take fun hockey while we can get it. The Ducks look energetic and hungry to win. They’re looking for redemption and if they keep playing the way they have been, it isn’t too far away.
A lot of the changes can be chalked up to Dallas Eakins and his radically different coaching philosophy. The atmosphere is different and the players seem to have a more positive outlook going into the new season. This is just proof that the wrong leadership will take down as many people with them as they can.
It’s great to see the Anaheim Ducks enjoying hockey again. Of course, it’s not perfect hockey, but did you see that 5-on-2 that developed in last night’s game? They’re taking bold risks, thinking smart, and working together as a team. The willingness to lose is gone. In the end, they’re a better team for it, and I, for one, am glad that these positive changes have reignited the spark and given us hope for an incredibly fun season ahead.
Do you love the Anaheim Ducks enough to write about them? We’ve looking to add more dedicated contributors to our team to start the 2019-20 season! If you’re interested, don’t hesitate in applying today!