A lot of folks in the MSM are confused by the Ducks fall from grace. They shouldn’t be.
"Every year, there’s a team that gets all the breaks…Two years ago it was the Colorado Avalanche, and last year it was Anaheim Ducks…Since this may sound like sour grapes, we’ll deomnstrate how the Ducks are like M&M’s – their candy coating is undeniably fantastic, but thin. They have no depth and were absolutely dominated ayt even strength…Despite their talented first line and exceptionally good fortune, the Ducks were and remain a bottom-third, non-playoff team."
That’s our own Rob Vollman from the most recent Hockey Prospectus annual. As mentioned by Pat in the FGD, Anaheim’s goaltending has fallen on hard times this season which is bad news for a team who gets so handily outshot.
Bob Murray has tried to firm up the bottom end a bit. He claimed Nik Hagman off waivers from Calgary and added Devils fourth liner Rod Pelley (incidentally, Hagman has a team best .537 corsi rate since Boudreau took over the Ducks). Jason Blake also returned from injury and Andrew Cogliano was added during the offseason. Those are exceedingly small band-aids for a very big wound, but the longest journey begins with a single step blah blah blah.
The reason to truly fear the Ducks, of course, is the big three – Getzlaf, Perry and Ryan. The ANA stars have suffered through some tough luck this season but they remain far and away the best players on the club and can completely outclass anything the Flames can currently put on the ice. Getzlaff and Perry are also in the black in terms of possession under BB, something they weren’t to start the season with Carlyle. It could be that Boudreau isn’t burying them quite as much, but whatever the case the Flames one and only path to victory tonight is suppressing the Ducks few big guns as much as possible.