Ducks' opponents could be Doom-ed

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:47 AM ET

Sequels usually aren't very enjoyable.

Think about Slap Shot II, Caddyshack II, Major League II.

Awful.

Anaheim may be witness to a great second incarnation. Certainly one to keep an eye on.

The Ducks appear to have a Legion of Doom II.

The Ducks, Cup champs only two years ago, don't have Eric Lindros, John LeClair and Mikael Renberg like the Philadelphia Flyers did more than a decade ago.

Anaheim may very have something better with Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and rookie Bobby Ryan.

And considering how much that trio has helped bring them back to life when they appeared to be dead, the Ducks are looking like the bottom-half Western Conference team most poised to do some playoff damage.

"As a group, we're probably more confident, especially after you get a streak going like we've been on," Rob Niedermayer told the Orange County Register.

"It gets everyone sort of feeling good. And everyone has been contributing -- that's the thing."

Especially the No.-1 line.That Getzlaf and Perry are top-notch forwards surprises nobody. Their careers have been on a rocket-ship ride since being first-round draft choices in 2003.

Now, they have another big and skilled forward to play with them --Ryan.

The second pick in the 2005 draft -- behind Sidney Crosby, you may have heard of him -- Ryan has hit the 30-goal mark.

Making that feat even more impressive is the fact he missed the first 18 games of the NHL season because he'd been dispatched to the minors to save salary-cap space.

"Bobby Ryan is proving he was worthy of his selection in the draft," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. "It's hard to fathom that he wasn't with our group up until this year. You see the development over the last three years is now making him more of a complete hockey player.

"We always knew he could score. It wasn't a question of whether he was going to make the NHL. It was just a question of when."

With an average size of 6-foot-3 and 213-lb., the Ducks top forward trio has the size and skill to control games.

San Jose Sharks head coach Todd McLellan said after a late-season loss to the Ducks: "They were flat-out dominant. They were the top players of the game, and that's what's supposed to happen at this time of the year. We had any matchup we wanted, and we couldn't stop them."

How dominant are they?

Getzlaf broke the Ducks record for assists this season, and he's known as much for being a scorer as a set-up man.

But the Ducks are still much more than a one-line team.

Anaheim GM Bob Murray made a flurry of deals in February and March, bringing in defencemen Ryan Whitney, James Wisniewski and Sheldon Brookbank, and forwards Petteri Nokelainen, Mike Brown and Erik Christensen.

The Ducks struggled until the third week of March. On St. Patrick's Day, there were 12th in the conference and appeared to be falling fast.

Then everything suddenly clicked.

"If you look at our lineup, we're more set," Carlyle said.

"We've kept people together. We've found some combinations that have provided us with quality minutes.

"Our team game, sure, I think we can still play a lot better. We seem to lose that for six, seven minutes in a game, or a period in a game -- whatever it is."

Oh yeah, the Ducks also boast two of the NHL's best defencemen in Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer. Plus, they're looking to have veterans Francois Beauchemin and Bret Hedican back in action.

"IT GETS EVERYONE SORT OF FEELING GOOD. AND EVERYONE HAS BEEN CONTRIBUTING -- THAT'S THE THING."

ROB NIEDERMAYER

DUCKS: STARTING LINEUP

LEFT WING

Bobby Ryan

Erik Christensen

Drew Miller

Mike Brown

DEFENCE

Scott Niedermayer

Ryan Whitney

Brendan Mikkelson

CENTRE

RYAN GETZLAF

ANDREW EBBETT

TODD MARCHANT

PETTERI NOKELAINEN

DEFENCE

JAMES WISNIEWSKI

CHRIS PRONGER

SHELDON BROOKBANK

RIGHT WING

Corey Perry

Teemu Selanne

Rob Niedermayer

George Parros

GOALIES

Jonas Hiller

Jean-Sebastien Giguere

RESERVES/INJURIES: C Ryan Carter, RW Troy Bodie, D Francois Beauchemin (knee, day-to-day), D Bret Hedican (back, indefinite), LW Brad Larsen (hernia, out).


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