PHILADELPHIA, PA — The Anaheim Ducks are one of just a handful of teams in the NHL to already have 20 or more points on the young season. When you see them in person, you realize why. This high-flying, talented group is fast, relentless, and fun to watch.
This week in Philadelphia, the Ducks fell behind to a struggling Flyers team 2-0. Despite the quick start for the Flyers, the vibe in the building still pointed to an Anaheim flurry. It was just a matter of when.
Sure enough, despite the efforts of a very game Flyers club, the Ducks came back. After scoring once in the second period they peppered the net in the third out shooting Philadelphia 16-6. Two of the shots went in and that was good enough for a 3-2 Anaheim victory. The comeback looked effortless.
Kyle Palmieri scored both goals in the final stanza and he was frank after the game when explaining what happened. “Once we were able to get things going we really poured it on them,” he said. Sounds like it’s almost by design.
In the midst of a long road trip, in a hostile environment, the Ducks seemingly flipped the switch when they needed too. That’s the sign of a very scary team. Even the Flyers had to admit it was a mismatch when it counted most.
While the Ducks skated and executed, their opponents turned into spectators. “We stood around and we were watching,” Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds admitted. “We stood around and started watching them instead of playing ourselves.”
The man who was in the direct line of the Ducks’s fire concurred. “I think we didn’t have the effort we needed to close out the game,” said Flyers goaltender Steve Mason.
Brutal honesty. Surely the Ducks created this environment. This team can beat you in many ways, with many weapons.
Top scorers Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry were held without a goal in this one, tallying just one assist combined and the ageless Teemu Selanne had to leave the game after taking a high stick to the face. He’s lost for two weeks.
Still, the Ducks showed they can win in different ways. When their usual suspects aren’t scoring, guys like Palmieri and Andrew Cogliano are. Others pick up the slack when the big guns are quiet. That’s something for the other teams in the Western Conference to take notice of.
Yes, it’s early…yes, the Flyers are punchless… and yes, this is hockey where even a top team can meet an early playoff demise if the puck takes a few wacky bounces…But when you watch this Ducks squad right now it appears the quack attack is for real.
Their long road trip rolls on with a stop in Boston on Halloween. If the Ducks are up to their old tricks, look for hockey fans to be in for a real treat.