How long can the Anaheim Ducks keep winning with numbers like this?
The Anaheim Ducks head into tonight's matchup with the Minnesota Wild armed with a 9-6-1 mark and tied for third in the Pacific Division.
For the most part, I've thoroughly enjoyed the way the Ducks have played this season, especially at home. Anaheim is 6-1-1 on the Honda Center and they've done an excellent job of making life very, very tough on visiting teams.
The record is good, but upon further review, could it all be smoke and mirrors?
There are times when opponents carry much of the play and if not for the heroics of John Gibson and Ryan Miller, the Ducks record could look very, very different. That much is obvious just based on a simple eye test, but when I looked into some of the underlying numbers, it quickly became clear just how lucky the Ducks are to be where there are right now.
A quick peek at some of the numbers should open some eyes.
- Anaheim's team save percentage is .927, that's good enough for third-best in the NHL. Only The Islanders and Avalanche are better. GOOD!
- The Ducks have scored 43 total goals, which puts them in the middle of the pack. They've surrendered just 39 goals against - tied for sixth overall. Meh!
- The power play is horrid even with some recent success. They have four power-play goals on 40 chances. You do the math. UGH!
- The PK hasn't been much better. Again they find themselves in the middle/bottom middle of the pack with an 81.36% kill rate. Meh!
- On 5v5, the Ducks rank 29th with a 45.4% chance for percentage (Corsi) and a Fenwick for percentage of 44.7% - dead last! OOF!
- The Ducks also lead the NHL in 5v5 chances against with 623. OOF OOF!
- Despite the negative analytics, Anaheim is outscoring its opponents 31 to 25 at 5v5. That 5v5 goals differential in 7th best leaguewide. NOT BAD!
I've never been a fan of analytics, but it's the way the game has gone. It's the way sports, in general, has gone and it's not going away. Based on some of the numbers posted above, the Ducks have dodged some serious bullets.
That said, the Ducks are winning despite what the number nerds say. How long can they sustain this type of success? Will the wheels eventually fall off? And what happens if one of these goalies gets - dare I say - hurt? *ducks and hides*
Tonight the Ducks will honor captain Ryan Getzlaf reaching the 1,000 game milestone. A couple of seasons ago it might have been hard to imagine this moment. Getzlaf is not the fleetest of foot and the game seemed to be passing him by. That's not the case. The 34-year-old has adapted his game and looks rejuvenated under Dallas Eakins.
Through 16 games, the captain has seven goals, four assists and leads the team with 13 takeaways. He scored that beautiful overtime goal against Vancouver last week and he really looks like he's enjoying himself. It should be a great night and some well-deserved recognition for a Ducks legend.
I'll be there. Come by and say hi if you have a chance.
Thanks for reading,