Saturday’s win over the Phoenix Coyotes (on the road!) was a game the Ducks should have won. Breaking the power-play slump and getting into a bunch of fights were mere bonuses.
When the Ducks lost 1-0 to the Coyotes 10 days ago, it was one of the worst hockey games I’d ever witnessed. Put simply, guys were being asked to score who weren’t scorers. As a result, no one scored.
The Ducks’ power-play scoring drought reached 22 in the first period Saturday before Mathieu Schneider did was he was asked to do: Score on the power play. The Ducks got four more goals before time was up on the 5-2 win over a team they should beat 5-2. I don’t think that anyone expects Schneider to score goals so frequently, and so timely, in every game. But GM Brian Burke seems too smart to hand a 2-year, $11 million contract to someone who won’t contribute, so Schneider’s immediate production isn’t a total surprise. It’s got to be a welcome relief.
Anyway, these back-to-back wins are really baby steps back toward the level of respectability the Ducks earned last year, and toward a .500 record. They can get there tonight by beating Dallas, an above-average team that has also beaten the Ducks in recent weeks.