By Pete Zarustica/Garden Grove Journal
It seems strange to say of a team that plays on skates, but the Anaheim Ducks are clearly on a roll.
With five wins in six games, including two consecutive shutouts, the Ducks are putting it all together: good hustle, excellent goaltending and an increasingly proficient attack.
Not counting Wednesday’s game against the St. Louis Blues at Honda Center, the Ducks are 23-18-4 for 50 points, which puts them in second place in the super-competitive Pacific Division.
They’re also tied for fourth in the Western Conference, but that’s a traffic jam, too, with just three points separating the Ducks from ninth place. Only the top eight teams from each conference make the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Last Wednesday the Ducks saw a three-game winning streak snapped with 4-1 loss to the Nashville Predators, but bounced back with a 6-0 shellacking of the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday.
Teemu Selanne scored Anaheim’s first two goals on power plays, Bobby Ryan added a pair of third-period goals and Jonas Hiller got his ninth career NHL shutout, collecting 27 saves.
Speaking of the lopsided win, Ryan said “We haven’t had many of them, so the feeling is great. Guys were loose in the third period, and you need that sometimes. You need games like that to boost some confidence and hopefully get the train rolling offensively.”
That was followed by a 1-0 win over the San Jose Sharks on Sunday.
Hiller thwarted three power plays en route to posting the back-to-back shutout.
“It’s great that I’m not getting scored on,” said Hiller. “That’s always a good feeling. But what really counts is two points against a conference rival. We had a great team effort.”
The lone Duck goal was scored by Ryan in the second period.
Next up for Anaheim is a trip to Phoenix Saturday to take on the Coyotes, followed by a return on Sunday to host the Edmonton Oilers. On Tuesday it’s off to Ottawa to play the Senators.