Anaheim Ducks: Four things we learned from the four-game road trip

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 24: Brandon Montour (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 24: Brandon Montour (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

The Anaheim Ducks had a very successful road trip with 3 wins and only 1 loss for a total of 6 standings points. As the team enters a stretch with 6 of its next 7 at Honda Center, here are 4 key things we learned about the team on its first road trip.

One: The Anaheim Ducks keep scoring consistently.

In their four road games, the Ducks scored the following number of goals: 6,6,3,4,4. This is impressive considering the Ducks are still without Ryan Kesler, Patrick Eaves, and now Cam Fowler. The Ducks have received depth contributions throughout their lineup – Ondrej Kase, Derek Grant, Chris Wagner, Nick Ritchie, you name him.

Andrew Cogliano is currently the Ducks’ point leader with 9. This is a testament that all Ducks’ players are all chipping into the offense. It’s a team effort The Ducks are not solely relying on Ryan Getzlaf’s and Antoine Vermette’s lines, making their offense a more potent threat no matter what line is out on the ice.

Two: The Ducks can compete with any team in the league and it showed through its matchup with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

When the Ducks skated out of BT&T Center after an embarrassing 8-3 loss to the Florida Panthers, they knew they had probably played their worst game thus far. They gave up scoring chance after scoring chance. The Panthers capitalized on most of them.

The Ducks knew they needed a better effort on both ends if they wanted to compete with the Lightning (#1 team in NHL). They did. The Ducks responded with one of their best games of the season at Amalie Arena. They had cleaner breakouts out of the defensive zone, kept their legs moving, executed offensively, and overall played with better composure and structure. In fact, they are the only team thus far to shut down Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov (0 points).

Probably most impressive was how the Ducks looked on the man advantage. The capitalized on

both of their Power Plays [while holding the Lightning to 0 and 4]. The Ducks won the ensuing faceoffs, won puck battles, kept the puck in the offensive zone, kept shooting towards the net, and Corey Perry provided the necessary traffic in front.

The game was arguably the Anaheim Ducks best game so far in this young season.

Three: Ducks defenseman Brandon Montour is a clear offensive threat.

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With Cam Fowler out, Montour’s ice team has ticked up to 23 minutes (previously about 20 minutes). What we’ve seen is Montour move up to the first power play unit and contribute to the Ducks scoring (goal, assist) in both of their power play goals against the Lightning. He also showcased his offensive speed in the neutral zone en route to his quick wrist shot past Flyers’ Brian Elliott.

The Ducks need Montour to provide that offense, especially with Lindholm and Vatanen coming back from their recent injuries. Montour has shown he is not afraid to shoot the puck.

Four: 37-year-old Ryan Miller is still a really, really great goaltender.

Age is just a number. While not the most athletic goaltender, Miller is technically sound. He put his technique, knowledge, and sharp reading of the play to work against a younger Hurricanes team.

Miller put on a clinic in overtime and the shootout in the Ducks 4-3 shootout win. He stopped everything. Two clear-cut breakaways – one by Sebastian Aho, one by Victor Rask – Miller denied them both. He also stopped all 3 Hurricanes’ shootout attempts.

Whereas the Ducks looked tired on the second of a back to back, Miller made save after save to bail them out. He is still excellent and showed that he can compete with John Gibson for playing time in net. With more back to back games coming in the near future, Miller will be depended on to ensure the Ducks don’t miss a beat.

Next: Dodgers force game seven

With all these positives, the Anaheim Ducks individually and collectively are showing how great team they can be. Let’s hope the goals, goaltending, and positive responses to any adversity continue on this homestand.