They have championship pedigree. They have depth at center. Their defense is a mix of solid vets and up and coming prospects. They have scoring, grit and they went far in the postseason just last season. Even the goalie had a shutout recently and looks great. The only problem? The Anaheim Ducks are sitting on the outside of the playoff picture as we speak. And no one knows why. When you look at the rosters of the teams ahead of the Ducks, such as the Stars and Wild, it’s hard to figure how Anaheim continues to languish in playoff purgatory.
2018 NHL Ducks Playoff Advice
Sure, Anaheim had injuries galore early on. But they’re healthy now and still struggling to stay in the postseason hunt. I just don’t get it. Maybe they’re bored and waiting for the playoffs to start. The only problem is they may not be in the dance if they don’t start moving and shaking.
Malkin making a late MVP push
We’ve talked about Taylor Hall and Nikita Kucherov as MVP candidates. But the run that Evgeni Malkin has been on with the Pittsburgh Penguins has been historic. He’s now second in the league in scoring, after notching a couple of points on Thursday night. Malkin is a former scoring champ and MVP, so this is nothing new for him. But to even get a sniff of this Hart Trophy talk is incredible when you consider that he’s on the same team as Sidney Crosby. But sure enough, it’s been Geno who’s been the star of this squad, as the two-time defending champs round into championship form. There’s nothing that this guy can’t do when he’s healthy and on the ice. If he overtakes Kucherov for points you have to think that he’ll get some serious MVP consideration.
Preds are ready
The Nashville Predators may have gotten to the Stanley Cup final last season. But there’s no complacency in their game right now. The Preds are the league’s hottest team, having gone 9-0-1 over their last 10 games. It’s been keyed by solid goaltending, depth scoring and the usual standout defense. For all of the talk about Vegas being the top dog in the west, that’s got to have hurt the Nashville players a little. After all, until someone knocks them off the hill, they’re still the Western Conference champs. It would be interesting to see Vegas versus Nashville for the right to play in the final. But man, that would be one ugly uniform battle.
Matthew Ross is a sports commentator and a radio host on TSN 690 Radio in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Follow him @MatthewWords.