Good: Ducks came out looking very passionate and fast, Ducks defense looked really good with the puck, Vatanen is a very entertaining player
Bad: The third goal for Ryan Miller
Ugly: The Canucks blueline, Maroon getting cut at the end of the game
The Ducks did two very good things tonight: they established an effective forecheck, and they capitalized on the opportunities that they generated. This is a group that clearly has a very good sense of camaraderie – even an uninformed observer has to notice they way they are trying to feed Getzlaf and Ritchie to boost their confidence.
There’s not a lot else to say about the game. The Canucks team that was once one of the best teams in the league for a few years, a team that defeated Chicago in the playoffs, looked like a B-level team. In isolation the forward group is actually not bad. What really hurt them was a blueline that, in regards to its ability to move the puck, is bottom-5 in the NHL without a doubt. Here are the names of the Canucks defensemen who played tonight: Edler, Hamhuis, Tanev, Bartkowski, Sbisa and the other Weber.
There is a clear trend towards building a defense that has at least 4 very solid puck-moving defensemen – even at the expense of physical and defensive play. With that group of names, the Canucks have not constructed a defense that can possibly compete in today’s NHL.
The Ducks, on the other hand, have a very talented group of defensemen who can move the puck and pose a threat from the blueline. He may not be the best overall of the group, but Vatanen is simply a joy to watch. He is destined to be a #1 defenseman at some point in his career.
It is true that the Ducks took advantage of a team that is not only at the limit of what its talent will accomplish but also ebbing at this point in the season. On the other hand, it is refreshing to see the Ducks to outplay an adversary for an entire game, including picking up their game in the third.