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

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Ducks vs Colorado Avalanche

I cleaned this place up a bit. Well, I updated the right side bar to feature our newest Ducks, and I removed the guys we traded away. Although, I can't bear to get rid of Chris Kunitz just yet.

The new look here also celebrates the new look of our Ducks team. I really think the new guys are reaching their stride. They're melding now, helping coach Carlyle create some great working lines and defensive pairings. It's no coincidence that the Ducks put together a five-game winning streak after the roster included a number of young, fresh players with potential.

I have a new Bobby Ryan goal counter, just cuz I want to celebrate my boy's accomplishments. If you have any suggestions for these pages, drop me a comment. Heck, just drop me a comment. It'd be nice to know somebody is actually reading this besides me!

Anyway, after the Ducks' horrible defeat against Edmonton, we really REALLY need to win this one against the Avalanche. Considering how we'd devastated the Avs last time, it shouldn't be too hard, right? Well, we've said that before.

But if we do it, it'll be the first time in franchise history that Ducks sweep the Avalanche. Hey, it's a nice thought, right?

We've got Jonas Hiller in net, which I'm happy about. I dunno, I still love J.S. Giguere, but I feel like we can't afford an inconsistent performance from him at this point in the playoff crunch. Hiller is just more consistently on his game. Peter Budaj is in net for the Avs; he was the one who started in net, was pulled out, and then put back in the last time Ducks faced the Avs.

In the first four minutes or so of the first period, Budaj is better than he was days ago. I guess that might not be saying much, considering the first goal he let in on that last game wasn't even a shot on goal.

Ducks first power play as Andrew Ebbett gets pushed into the boards. It's an interference call, and I'm happy Ebbett wasn't badly hurt. The replay shows a nasty whip of his head as his body hits the boards. Budaj does a good job keeping pucks out of his net.

Corey Perry came within inches of getting the Ducks on the board first with his signature wraparound, but was denied at the goal post by an Av defender.

Back and forth, up and down until finally, at about 13 minutes into the first, there's a sloppy turnover in the Av's zone right in Perry's lane. He takes it up the ice and shoots high into the net for an unassisted goal and the first of the game. It's his sixth goal in the last seven games.

And then the Avs get their first power play opportunity off a hooking penalty by Chris Pronger. Ducks make a mistake, leaving Liles open at the front of the net. James Wisniewski got caught up watching the puck as the other players fought for it in the corner. He left Hiller by himself and, when Liles got his stick on the pass, Hiller had no chance.

Right off the next faceoff, Mike Brown throws down gloves with Laperriere. Five for fighting to both. The commentators are mentioned a lack of energy with our Ducks. I have to say I agree. There's a lot of skating going on, but not a lot of forechecking, not a lot of muscling in the corners, not a lot of speed.

It's tied up 1-1 as the first period closes.

The second period starts with considerably more energy than the first. Ducks get a power play early on when George Parros is tripped. The Av penalty kill isn't as worthless as it was in the last game these clubs shared. I think that's why our Ducks haven't wiped these Avs yet. Budaj makes a number of saves, helped by fortuitous bounces off the plumbing, until finally... Ryan Whitney slaps an excellent pass through the slot to my boy Bobby Ryan, who passes the puck from one hand to the other and then shoots it high right over Budaj. Goal!

Bobby's 25th goal of the season, and the Ducks retake the lead.

They almost score again on a breakaway by Ryan Getzlaf, Perry on his wing. He makes the pass, but Perry can't put it in the net.

There are more turnovers, more scoring chances for our Ducks this period. And why? Because they're playing much more aggressively. They're getting in there, pushing the forecheck... and then? There's two Ducks chasing two Avs chasing a runaway loose puck as it descends down the Duck defensive zone. Suddenly, holy shit, Hiller comes crashing through, almost to the blue line, pushing that puck out of everyone's way.

See, I told you this was a much more aggressive period!

I've never seen a goaltender fly that far away from his net. Hiller isn't able to drive the puck back over the blue line, and he's lucky he's able to get back into his net before the Avs get a shot attempt. The crowd at the Honda Center is on their feet, giving Hiller a standing ovation.

One thing is for sure, if Hiller wanted to get the home crowd into this game, he definitely did it with that trick. Can't say coach Carlyle is as thrilled.


Hiller goes on to make some phenomenal saves in the later half of the second. He's blocking slap shots and rebounds alike, flying from one side of the net to the other. Yes, I love Giggy, but Hiller makes it very hard to not love him too. He's just so fast in the crease.

Avs on the power play again when the Captain gets penalized with a tripping call. They're fighting to tie things up. And they would have if Hiller hadn't made a tremendous save on a lightning-quick rebound. You'll see that one on the highlight reels, people.

Ducks take the 2-1 lead to the locker room at the second intermission.

Five minutes into the third, my boy does it again. Our winning first line goes into cycle mode deep in the Colorado zone. Getzlaf passes it off to Bobby, who shoots it straight through Budaj to reach the net. Now our Ducks have a more comfortable lead.

Please, guys, don't blow this!

A minute and a half later, there's a scramble for a loose puck shot in by Teemu Selanne in front of Budaj. Ebbett's up there, pushing the puck. It squirts back out on a rebound right to Drew Miller, whose Av defender is suspiciously absent because he's busy falling over in the crease. All Miller has to do is tap it into the net. Which he does, solidifying the Duck lead, 4-1.

When our boys aren't on the Av end scoring goals, Hiller is in the Anaheim end, making those great saves. What a game. This is what our boys have to bring to each and every game in order to make the playoffs. Seriously.

The last of the third is spent with the Ducks protecting their lead. No hat trick for Bobby, even though his mates tried to give him the feed. No matter, Ducks still win this, 4-1, and most importantly, they land two more points for the playoff run.


My Zimbio
Top Stories