by PuckStopsHere on 03/28/09 at 01:33 AM ET
A couple weeks ago I wrote that Anaheim will likely miss the playoffs. This no longer seems true. A five game winning streak has put the Ducks back into a playoff spot. Right now (their game with Edmonton is still underway) the Ducks are seventh in the West Conference with 80 points. They are only one point up on ninth and missing the playoffs.
If I was a top seed in the west, I would be hoping that Anaheim will not be my eventual opponent. They have a very talented team for a lower seed. Only two years ago, they won the Stanley Cup. Their team is no longer as strong as it was in 2007, but many of the key pieces in a cup winner remain.
In goal, Jean-Sebastien Giguere has had a hard season. He has a .902 saves percentage and a 3.06 GAA. Those are not spectacular numbers. Nevertheless he has a very good playoff track record. Giguere won the 2003 Conn Smythe Trophy and the 2007 Stanley Cup. Few goalies have had his playoff success. It would not be particularly surprising for him to have a strong playoff this season. If he does, the Ducks will be a good team.
On defence future Hall of famers Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer remain. Although neither are solid Norris Trophy candidates this season, they make an impressive top two. Ryan Whitney has been added from Pittsburgh to give the Ducks a solid third defenceman. He is settling into his new environment. It looks like the Ducks could have a very good top three defenceman for the playoffs and that was what they had in 2007.
At forward Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry have emerged as the top scorers they looked like they might become in 2007. Teemu Selanne is still around and is still a good scorer. Rookie Bobby Ryan has given the Ducks another solid scorer. There is some front end talent on the Ducks forward unit. The biggest dropoff from 2007 is in their checking unit. Sami Pahlsson, Travis Moen and Rob Niedermayer were the best checking line in hockey. Only Rob Niedermayer remains a member of the Anaheim Ducks. The Ducks will have a much harder time shutting down their opponents than they did in 2007.
The Anaheim Ducks have made a strong run over the last two weeks to put themselves back into the playoff race. They have a talented team that still contains many of the pieces that won the 2007 Stanley Cup. They will be tough to play against in the playoffs. They might be able to knock off a top contender.
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