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Q&A With Anaheim Calling: Game 1

JC McDonough from Anaheim Calling answered some of our questions following Game 1 of the WCF.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Nashville Predators at Anaheim Ducks Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

After the Preds took Game 1 of the Western Conference Final on Friday, we reached out to Anaheim Calling for a little Q&A exchange. It’s nice to get a little perspective on the game from the other side, so we are gonna try to do this as much as we can in this series.

We sent some questions over to JC McDonough who was kind enough to respond. I answered some questions of theirs over at Anaheim Calling, so go check those out if you like.

OTF: John Gibson was great Friday night. Going into the series, I had a feeling that he had been playing better than his numbers suggested. Was his performance on Friday a product of finally getting results that reflect how he's actually performed this postseason or was it a product of better defense from his supporting cast?

AC: I think it was more of Gibson getting results that reflect how he’s played. Obviously, he’s given up some soft goals and had some glaring weaknesses these playoffs. But, I think he has played remarkably better than his numbers show. After Game 7 on Wednesday, in which he wasn’t busy but still played very well, I was curious about something. Gibson has always seemed to really hit his groove when Anaheim gets a lead, and after looking up some stats, I found that Gibson leads all playoff goaltenders with a .978 Sv% when his team is leading. So if Anaheim can start games well, Gibson can play fantastic in shutting the door and preserving an Anaheim lead.

OTF: What's the key to Jakob Silfverberg's recent success? That shot was probably the toughest one Rinne has faced in these playoffs. What's his ceiling you think? 30 goal scorer? Higher?

AC: I feel like, due to the fact that Silfverberg is used in a shut-down role so often, most teams don’t understand just how potent he can be in the offensive zone. And as you said, he has a fantastic shot. While I think expectations have changed since he came to Anaheim (he was looked at originally to fill the role that Bobby Ryan left), I think he has really found his game as a remarkable two-way winger who uses his speed all over the ice. I don’t think he is a 30-goal scorer, but 20-25 every year and solid play in his own zone makes Silfverberg a very valuable player to Anaheim.

OTF: Obviously the physical nature of this series got off to a rockin' start last night. Since both teams found their way to penalty box with regularity, do you think things escalate from here? Or do cooler heads prevail? (LOL)

AC: I don’t think the physical play in this series will escalate, but I don’t see cooling off either. It’s the conference finals, and considering these teams recent playoff history, I think they’re the two hungriest teams left in these playoffs. Both teams have a chip on their shoulder and a loss in the WCF is unacceptable to them. Both of these squads will continue to use their physical presence to create momentum for themselves.