Right, the Ducks have shown a dominant offense, scoring seven goals against Vancouver, and coming back with another five against Calgary, but look at who has been scoring. Of those 12 goals, Daniel Winnick has four. In his five year career, his season-high is 11 goals, with all of eight last year, and to think he will keep up anything like his early season pace, is unrealistic. Six other Ducks have scored goals so far, but one of the other two guys with more than one is 42-year-old Teemu Sellane, with two. Sure, he could go on to have the greatest goal-scoring season ever for a 42-year-old, but again, how realistic is that? So, look beyond those 12 goals, seven from the team’s second line of Winnick, Sellane and Saku Koivu, where much of the scoring has come from, and look at the defense. In just a moment.
First, a look at the Kings’ start.
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|They have been awful, as their 0-2 start attests, as does their having scored only three goals while allowing eight in their first two games. The only positive note so far was the return of Anze Kopitar against Colorado and the fact that he played close to 20 minutes. But the three continuing specific problems that stand out at this point are lack of offensive punch, injuries, and the poor start from playoff MVP Jonathan Quick.
While Kopitar is back, Willie Mitchell will be out for quite while yet, and you have to think that the back
injury that required off-season surgery has negatively impacted the performance of Quick. And now, it is known that Matt Greene suffered a season ending back injury in the opener against Chicago. So, the Kings are now missing two of their top four defensemen, and will have to compensate for those losses. Andrew Bodnarchuk has been called up but don’t hold your breadth for him to be an answer. It’s three years since he last touched NHL ice, and has played in five games in his career.
When in any sport a season is long delayed, and training camps shortened, it then always seem to be the case that a rash of injuries is the result. Two games into the season, and two players have suffered sever injuries, Greene, and Colorado’s Steve Downie, injured in yesterday’s game agains the Kings, suffered a season-ending knee injury.
Back to defense, and goaltending. The Ducks have given up only one less goal than the Kings, despite the vastly different records. Can the Ducks continue to average six goals per game? With Jonas Hiller having given up only one less goal than Quick, and posting a Save Percentage significantly lower than his career mark, and not much better than Quick’s, for them to continue their fast start, defense will be key, and Friday’s early season rematch against a reeling 0-1-1 Vancouver team will be telling. Cory Schneider will have a lot to prove, assuming he still has his job after tonight’s game against Calgary.