Arthur, at Anahiem Calling, answered some questions for me about the Ducks to help prepare you for tonight's game.
Q: Give us a quick scouting report on the Ducks. These teams just saw each other, but overall, how are things going in Anaheim?
A: The Ducks are finally playing well through 60 minutes, but they are finding themselves undermined by even fleeting lapses in concentration. The last game in Dallas, where Anaheim let in an own-goal off a skate and a goal Jiggy lost in his pads, pretty much sums up the season.
A: Size is a big part of it. For Perry, it seems to be a source of confidence. He moves the puck toward the net until you stop him, and that makes it very dangerous to give him any kind of room out there. For Getzlaf, his play flows from his physicality and his snarl. He can take over a game with his size, whether muscling the puck along the boards, pushing past defenders or unleashing that monstrous shot. And both guys have a complete toolkit, despite their size. They can pass, score, skate and stickhandle as well as any more 'compact' skater.
Q: What's the latest on Teemu Selane's injury?
A: They performed the surgery as scheduled, and the recovery timetable is 4-6 weeks.
Q: Which young Ducks player or players has the brightest future?
A: It would probably be Bobby Ryan. Contract negotiations aren't going well enough for me to say that that future will be with the Ducks, but he certainly has the most impressive skillset amongst our rookies. The Ducks' power play is third in the league. What makes them so good?
Teemu Selanne. He has been a power play machine since the lockout, and he started this season on fire. Without Teemu, we still have Scott Niedermayer's roving, an accurate point shot from James Wisniewski, bombs from the blueline from Ryan Whitney/Nick Boynton and the all-around quarterbacking ability of Ryan Getzlaf.
Q: How is the penalty kill?
A: It has gotten better. Assistant Coach Dave Farrish spent the early part of the season trying out new penalty killers, and that tanked the overall numbers. Since then, the coaching staff has turned to a new penalty killing system, boxing out the play more. Obviously, that's more susceptible to passing, but the Ducks have been very successful
Q: Can you tell us about Jonas Hiller, who it appears will be in nets tonight?
A: Despite being a pupil of Francois Allaire, Jonas Hiller likes to move, he likes to guess. He's rarely down early, hoping the puck will hit him. He tries to make the athletic save instead of the positional save as often as possible. That is certainly something teams can exploit with cross ice passes, quick shots through traffic or by just generally reducing his ability to track the puck.
Q: Anything else Stars fans should know about the Ducks and this game?
A: It should start to feel like a series after tonight's game. These teams will play each other once more this month, but not again until after the Olympics. Hard to depict anything tonight as a standings battle, but there is still plenty of reason for things to get chippy.