Another Pacific Division title clinched, the
Not only does Anaheim boast two young goaltenders playing well, but also the play of young third-line center Rickard Rakell has elevated.
One more secret offensive weapon lurking behind the known commodities of Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Ryan Kesler is forward Jakob Silfverberg.
In Wednesday's 5-1 Pacific Division-clinching victory over Edmonton, Silfverberg had a career-best three assists. The defensive-minded forward is plus-five during the Ducks' four-game winning streak.
"For the last 30 games, I feel I've been playing well, and obviously that's showing in the score sheet," said Silfverberg, who has four goals and 10 assists since Feb. 20. "That brings you a lot of confidence.
"You want to peak at the right time, and now is the right time to have that kind of success. To go to the playoffs with that confidence is going to help a lot."
The Ducks (50-22-7) are in position to win the President's Trophy, for most points in the NHL, which would assure home-ice advantage throughout their postseason existence.
With Silfverberg currently playing on the fourth line with Nate Thompson, Anaheim is as deep across four lines as it has been under Coach Bruce Boudreau.
"We have lines that can score," Silfverberg said. "There's never going to be a team that has a 30-goal scorer on its fourth line, but all of our lines can contribute in an offensive way.
"And even though our focus over the last four games has been on defense [six goals given up], a lot of different guys are stepping up. For the playoffs, that's a good thing, with all the focus that will be on Getzlaf and Perry."
Silfverberg also has spent extensive time on the second line with Kesler, and said he's unsure which line he'll be assigned to.
"Everybody has to elevate their game in the last months," Boudreau said. "If you want to win, everyone has to upgrade their game. Everything gets amped up. We're definitely stronger as far as depth goes."
Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano, who leads active NHL players with a streak of 619 consecutive games played, was selected by the Anaheim chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Assn. as a nominee for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, given to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to ice hockey.
With 15 goals and 28 points this season, Cogliano, 27, is a stalwart who provides steadiness and leadership to complement captain Getzlaf and alternate captains Perry and Francois Beauchemin.
"I've been in the league long enough that guys kind of look up to me in a certain way," Cogliano said. "Guys need to speak up and take accountability of the team sometimes. It can't always be on the best players. It's still a team sport. Everybody's involved."
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Etc.: A playoff qualifier last season, Colorado visits the Ducks and Kings next and could be eliminated by this weekend. Defenseman Tyson Barrie is seventh among NHL blue-liners with 49 points.