There have been several players who have been solid for the Anaheim Ducks in week one. Nevertheless, only three can stand out above the rest.
It’s been a busy week for the Anaheim Ducks. They’ve hosted their home opener and kicked off hockey season in surprising fashion. Going 2-0-0 in their first two games of the year has put them back on track to be an entertaining team in 2019-20. Fun hockey has returned to Honda Center, and as fans, we couldn’t be happier.
Things started off a little shaky for the Ducks as they shook away the offseason rust. They struggled to score goals and their fourth line was their strongest during opening night. Nevertheless, they were able to pull ahead with just seconds left in the middle period. With neither team being able to capitalize on their chances in the third, Anaheim’s 2-1 victory was a stepping stone in a positive direction.
Playing a team predicted to be at the top of the Pacific Division in Game 2 looked like it might be a challenge early on. The San Jose Sharks, however, came to Honda Center having lost their first two-games to the Vegas Golden Knights. From the moment the Anaheim Ducks took the ice, they were lively and spirited, putting pressure on their foes that the Sharks just couldn’t handle. They lit the lamp with a 3-1 win, giving them the motivation they needed to start strong as they prepare for their first road trip of the year.
There was a radical difference between the 2018-19 team from last season to the 2019-20 team we’ve seen this week. Choosing just Three Stars for the opening week was a difficult task for the Pucks of a Feather staff to undertake. Several players could have easily earned a spot as one of the top Ducks this week.
Derek Grant opened up the season with the Anaheim Ducks’ first goal of the year. Adam Henrique‘s unassisted goal in the second period against the Sharks was flawless. We were given a glimpse of vintage Ryan Getzlaf with his game-winning goal against San Jose. However, we can only choose three players; 80 games remain, and the rest of the team will have their moment in the sun.
Third Star of the Week— Cam Fowler
Cam Fowler has been a bright spot on the blueline this week. After switching to the right side last season, it seems as though this will be a permanent move for the veteran defenseman. Fowler and Brendan Guhle have built off their chemistry from last season; the pair has easily been the best on the blueline in week one.
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Fowler’s game-winning goal against the Arizona Coyotes was incredible. Dangling around a defender, he lifted a wrist shot from the circle, beating Darcy Kuemper and restoring the Anaheim Ducks lead. He also leads the team in CF% (Corsi For %) with 68.8%, meaning he is controlling the puck more often than his other teammates.
Over the past few seasons, Fowler’s name has been tossed around as trade bait by the fans. However, if he continues to play like this, he may find himself back in our good graces. Change has looked good on him, and this could be a comeback year for the seasoned defenseman.
Second Star of the Week— Ondrej Kase
Prior to the start of the season, Ondrej Kase was a question mark. He was said to be injured, and no one knew the extent. With his history of concussions, an elbow to the head from one of the LA Kings made us fear the worse. Nevertheless, he walked the orange carpet on opening day and started alongside captain Ryan Getzlaf, a spot he has rightfully earned.
Kase had a quiet first game, but things exploded for him in Game 2 against the San Jose Sharks. The young winger had a two-point night, earning the primary assist on both Michael Del Zotto and Ryan Getzlaf’s goals. Leading the team in shots, with 11, the 23-year-old is hungry for a goal, and it won’t be long before he puts a puck in the back of the net.
Everyone is hoping he can stay healthy for the majority of the season. The creativity he has shown in the first two games, paired with his incredible hockey IQ and on-ice vision, has put the Ducks in a position to win. Expect big things from him, as he’s well on his way to a breakout season.
First Star of the Week— John Gibson
It is no surprise that our beloved goaltender, John Gibson, slots in as our First Star of the Week. He was the hero last season, and it looks like the narrative will be similar this season as well. Gibson stood tall in net during both games this past week, stopping 67 shots and only letting in two goals. He’s already made several stellar saves that have kept his entire team out of trouble. Without him between the pipes, the Anaheim Ducks could have easily lost their home opener against the Arizona Coyotes.
His save percentage is sitting pretty at .971% in the first two games. Gibson’s quality start percentage is also perfect. It should be no surprise that he is already leading all NHL goaltenders in nearly every aspect of the game. John Gibson has proven that he is much like a fine wine; he only gets better with age. If he continues to impress throughout the 2019-20 season, he could make a pretty convincing case to be one of the top contenders for the Vezina.
Do you love the Anaheim Ducks enough to write about them? Pucks of a Feather is looking to add dedicated contributors to our team to start the 2019-20 season! If you’re interested, don’t hesitate to apply today!