The Ducks checked off most of the boxes in Tuesday’s 5-1 win against the Colorado Avalanche at Honda Center.
First, going into a long trip, they defeated the worst team in the NHL by four goals. More important, they have a nearly complete lineup with the return of Jakob Silfverberg and Nate Thompson from injuries.
Star players Rickard Rakell and Cam Fowler reached career highs in goals, and goalie John Gibson climbed to one win behind his career high 21.
Here’s what we learned:
Jakob Silfverberg should eventually get Selke Trophy consideration. That probably won’t happen this season with linemate Ryan Kesler as the favorite, but Silfverberg has gone a long way to show he’s one of the best two-way forwards in hockey.
Ducks Coach Randy Carlyle playfully told reporters that they needed to lobby for Silfverberg, but he also seriously noted the jump that Silfverberg gives the team.
“He’s huge for us,” Fowler said. “The guy does everything. He’s having a great year offensively and does everything the right way. … Anytime he’s out of the lineup we certainly notice, and we’re happy to have him back.”
Corey Perry’s milestone mirrored his season. Though his goal scoring is down, by his standards, there are nights, like Tuesday, when his playmaking makes up for it.
Perry cycled the puck with Ryan Getzlaf behind the net and made a tight, heads-up pass to Rickard Rakell that caught the Avalanche puck-watching and produced a 2-0 lead.
It was Perry’s 700th career point, trailing Teemu Selanne (988) and Getzlaf (779) in Ducks history.
Perry is on pace for only 14 goals, which would be his lowest total in a full season since 2006-07. However, he’s also on pace for 42 assists, which works out to his most since 48 in 2010-11.
Everyone’s on board. Carlyle said Silfverberg and Thompson solidified a lineup that is “closer to what we envisioned two months ago or three months ago. Now it’s time to prove it, though.”
It’s not that the Ducks lack identity, but this next stretch will help reveal their potential for a long spring.
The Ducks are one point behind the San Jose Sharks in the Pacific division and 11-3-4 within the division, but their report card lags against some of the other top teams. They went 0-4 against the Pittsburgh Penguins and Minnesota Wild, 0-1-1 against the Columbus Blue Jackets and lost their only first-half matchup against the Chicago Blackhawks.