The Anaheim Ducks’ start to the playoffs seems to be mirroring their start to the regular season.
The Ducks, of course, opened the season by losing nine-of-their-first-10 games and had a hard time scoring. THN’s official pre-season Stanley Cup pick were written off by many before turning it around in the second half and winning the Pacific Division.
The Ducks got off to a rough start in the playoffs, too. They lost their first two games – at home – to the surprising Nashville Predators and seemed to be in big trouble. Once again, they’re rebounding in a big way.
The Ducks went into Nashville and took both games from the Predators, winning Game 4 on Thursday night 4-1 to even the series at 2-2. The series heads back to Anaheim on Saturday for what is now a best-of-three series with two games in Anaheim.
The thinking all along was that the Ducks were a team built to win the playoffs. They’re showing it now. They’re big, they’re strong, they’re skilled, they’re tough to play against, they were the fifth best possession team during the regular season. Those are all attributes recent Stanley Cup winners have had, and now they’re getting great goaltending, too.
After replacing John Gibson to start Game 3, Frederik Andersen came in and blanked the Predators. On Thursday, Andersen gave up just one goal, made 30 saves, and “dropped” his save percentage to .968.
To top it all off, the Ducks are getting secondary scoring. Corey Perry has not scored in the playoffs – but Jamie McGinn, Andrew Cogliano, and Nate Thompson each have two.
Thompson scored just three goals in an injury-shortened regular season but already has two, including the game winner on Thursday.
The Predators should be worried. We’re not writing them off given anything can happen in three games, but the Ducks are starting to look like the team that made them pre-season contenders.