In praise of Bobby Ryan

In praise of Bobby Ryan
"The biggest thing is just his poise and his hands are unbelievable. I played with [Evgeni] Malkin and [Sidney] Crosby, and those guys are probably the two best in the league. Bobby's hands are right with those guys... He's a superstar in the making, it seems."
---Ryan Whitney, former Ducks defenseman

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Ducks at Minnesota, vs. Wild

Randy Carlyle isn't the only person disappointed in the Ducks performance at Pittsburg. Hopefully tonight, they'll make that up. Although, I'm hearing our boys didn't get into Minnesota until two in the morning... meaning, more stress on backup goaltender Jonas Hiller to block pucks missed by sleepy Duck defenders.

The Ducks have their work cut out for them. The Wild has Niklas Backstrom between the pipes. But Carlyle has completely mixed up the players on each line, "scrambled eggs" as Ryan Carter referred to the new groupings. Maybe Carlyle will find a winning player combo. We certainly hope so!

The first period started and ended with an even 0-0 score. Lots of excellent shots on goal that didn't find net, nods both to Hiller and Backstrom for some great saves. Our Ducks are moving their feet more with The Wild than they did against last night's Pens, but no goals to show for it yet.

A lot of back and forth in the second period. I do have to say, if it weren't for Backstrom's skills, the Ducks would be up three or four goals by now. And same goes for the Wild. If Hiller wasn't on the ball tonight, some great goals would've passed into the net. About halfway in, the Ducks get their first power play of the game. A sweet pass from Andrew Ebbett to Corey Perry results in the first goal of the game.

Speaking of Andrew Ebbett, he's been looking pretty good in both this game and yesterday's game against the Pittsburg Pens. Fast skating, lots of quick shots on goal... keep an eye on this boy, he's coming along!

More action in the second half, both teams are playing hard. The Wild make a shot on goal which hits the crossbar, "ping!", and then there's a scramble for the rebound. I felt bad for Hiller, who through himself onto the puck and, with everyone kicking and swinging, the puck manages to work itself out and across the goal line. Lucky for the Ducks though, one of the refs blew the whistle before the puck crossed. In the meleu, Steve Montador and a Wild began exchanging blows.

Another fight breaks out less than a minute later. Lots of edge now between the players!

At the end of the second period, Perry has the game's only goal. Ducks lead, 1-0.

Early on in the third, Travis Moen takes a puck to the face and disappears to the Ducks' locker room.

And then, during a multi-shot streak on Backstrom, Bobby Ryan passes a shot to Montador, who shoots it at the goal. Backstrom blocks, but allows a rebound straight to Bobby, who meets the open net with a swift swing. This is Bobby's 13th goal of the season, and the 2nd goal of the game.

Here's my opportunity to wax enthusiastic about my boy Bobby. They talk about how shy Bobby has been, how he wouldn't even look interviewers in the eye, preferring instead to avert his gaze at the ground as he spoke. Carlyle prompted him to boost his confidence, speak to his fellow teammates, be a presence on the team. And now, Bobby's coming into his own, proving himself to be one helluva hockey player. You see his confidence as he weaves that puck deftly along the ice. You see his confidence as he speeds towards the puck. And I think it's positively exciting to watch a young man with such potential grow into an amazingly skillful athlete.

Anyway! The third period rapidly comes to a close, the Wild feverishly trying to get onto the scoreboard. But as we come to the last minute, not only is Backstrom not called to the bench, but the Wild defense seems to lose its steam. They let the Ducks shuttle the puck around the ice without any confrontation. So much so, Ryan Getzlaf leisurely passes the puck to Perry for another goal, with less than 30 seconds left on the clock.

It's another shutout for Hiller, his fourth this season. And really, this game goes to the goaltenders, because they were the true stars of this game.

The Ducks take this one, 3-0.


Leo said...

Buhuhu. *snif* the Ducks are on a loosing streak.

Chris said...

But they won this one! It was a complete shutout, no goals at all for the Wild.

Leo said...

Oops, I just had finished listening to ANA - NYI...

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