It's not a bad time to be an Anaheim Ducks fan.
In almost every capacity, the Ducks have asserted themselves as continuing to be an elite Western Conference hockey club.
Not only do they currently own the best record in the NHL with 20 points through 13 games, but Corey Perry has been named the NHL's player of the month after tallying 11 goals (including two hat tricks) on his way to a 15 point month, good for third overall in scoring.
Corey Perry (@AnaheimDucks), Sidney Crosby (@penguins) & Tyler Seguin (@DallasStars) named 'Three Stars' of the month http://t.co/pyjVZS5yJt
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) November 3, 2014
In fact, a quick look at the NHL's leaderboard (as of November 3rd) gives Anaheim fans a lot to like about their team.
Even Ryan Getzlaf shows up in the assists column (we'd expect nothing less).
What Anaheim Has Accomplished
Through 10 games Anaheim is four points above the next-best record in the Western Conference.
They've also won six out of eight roads games, giving them the best road win totals in the league.
During the month of October Anaheim ran a seven-game winning streak that allowed them to open up their season at 7-1, despite playing their first four games away from Honda Center. The stat sheet is filling in nicely as well.
NHL Power Rankings - Week 4: Anaheim Ducks move into top 5, Boston Bruins drop to 10. http://t.co/zfLb0CT192 pic.twitter.com/Nd3pseitkN
— theScore (@theScore) October 27, 2014
While Perry leads Anaheim in points, Getzlaf is right behind him with 11 assists and 15 points overall.
Newcomer Ryan Kesler and Cam Fowler are both tied for third with eight.
That means the Ducks four best players are playing like their four best players, which isn't something we've seen from Anaheim in the early portions of the last few seasons. Particularly Getzlaf and Perry have been notoriously slow starters.
But not this time.
It seems as if everything has come together right out of the gate for the Ducks, with few weak spots and little for fans to complain about.
Gibson or Anderson?
If you ignore the game one debacle that John Gibson had in his hometown of Pittsburgh, he's had a tremendously solid start. In four games he's posted a 2.28 GAA and a .927 save pct. with one shutout.
Frederik Anderson, who has started eight games for Anaheim has been even better.
John Gibson and Frederik Anderson Stats
This is huge for Anaheim, since they haven't been able to really settle their goaltending situation since coming off the back end of J.S. Giguere's career.
But it seems as though both Gibson and Anderson are capable of being a No. 1 goaltender for the Ducks. At this point, who Bruce Boudreau designates as his No. 1 guy is neither here nor there, as both goalies are under contract through next season, after which they'll be restricted free agents.
Gibson or Andersen? http://t.co/r64iXnaBKr http://t.co/auvjK5eZo8
— DucksNPucks® (@DucksNPucks93) November 4, 2014
So for the short term, Anaheim has both of them, and the long term should yield one or the other.
But for the sake of argument, Anderson has been the more consistent of the two, winning seven of the eight games he's played and maintaining a Vezina-caliber stat line.
Besides, he's got a new Reservoir Dogs-inspired mask.
Full photo of Frederick Andersen’s new mask. Dig the ‘Reservoir Dogs’ homage. http://t.co/TGoEPAyCDg
— Ducks Talk Show (@DucksTalkShow) October 29, 2014
He's the guy moving forward.
If it weren't for Perry, Sami Vatanen would lead the team in powerplay goals.
He leads Anaheim defenders in goals (3) and is second in points (7) only to Fowler. Following them are Francois Beauchemin and Hampus Lindholm who have been quiet offensively, but continue to handle the first defensive pairing, according to the Daily Faceoff.
Ideally (as if it can get much more ideal) Linholm would have a bigger offensive impact. A goal and two assists isn't living up to expectations based on what he did last year.
But he'll get his chance. He is carrying a plus/minus of +8, second only to Perry (+11) on the team
It's not Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger, but it's good. Anaheim's defense is very good.
November will be an interesting month for the Ducks.
They've two games against the Los Angeles Kings, two against the Vancouver Canucks and one against the San Jose Sharks. How they do against those potential Western Conference playoff opponents will be telling about their chances in a potential postseason run.
If they get through that stretch and are still hovering at the top of the league, I'll be a little surprised and relieved. Because the Ducks need to get it done against Western Conference opponents.
Brace yourself, @AnaheimDucks... A tough stretch against the West's best is approaching. Read: http://t.co/49mIXHKVki pic.twitter.com/1EuMZFE6CR
— NHL (@NHL) October 28, 2014
Ever since losing to the Kings in seven games, there have been questions surrounding their ability to matchup physically against Chicago, L.A. and other more physical Western Conference teams.
If they're going to make another Stanley Cup run, they've got to show that they can handle these teams in the regular season.
Is it reasonable to expect that to happen?
If everyone stays healthy, I don't see why not.
Talk Ducks hockey with me over at Twitter, because blog comments are dumb.
Flickr Commons Image Courtesy of Bridget Samuels