Is the Anaheim Ducks third line going to be the blessing the team needs to make it into the postseason or is it too little too late?
Anaheim Ducks Third Line: Blessing Or Curse
The Ducks third line has been carrying the team the past few games. Wingers Ondrej Kase and Nick Ritchie and centerman Adam Henrique have combined for 17 points in the last six games. Those points include all three in the victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday night and the game-tying goal and shootout winner in Minnesota.
Ondrej Kase is having a breakthrough season. His 18 goals are third on the team behind Rickard Rakell and linemate Adam Henrique. Kase has hit his stride this season, becoming deadly on breakaway opportunities with his patented backhand. Kase earned his spot on the Ducks roster last season and this season he has been valuable with the Ducks losing so many key players to injury early in the season. He plays on the third line but has spent time all over the lineup. Even getting time on the top line with Rakell and Ryan Getzlaf. Kase is only starting his climb and nowhere near his peak.
Nick Ritchie uses his size and strength to manhandle his way into the areas of the ice that are not easy to get through. He is a gritty player, keeping his nose to the grindstone and doing his best to produce. Lately, he has been producing quite well. Ritchie has four assists, two goals, and a shootout game-winning goal in the last six games. He came to the Ducks as the draft pick that came with Jakob Silfverberg in the midst of the Bobby Ryan trade.
Adam Henrique has become such an important player since the trade in late November. He started his time with the Ducks by going on a six-game scoring streak. He has played on the top line with Corey Perry and Rickard Rakell. Shutdown line with Andrew Cogliano and Jakob Silfverberg and found his home on the third line with Kase and Ritchie. In his last six games, he has three goals and three assists including the overtime winner in Buffalo. He has become a vital part of the Ducks roster this year.
Ducks fans will see if the third line can keep making it happen and steal two more points. The Ducks are looking for the first franchise victory against the Vegas Golden Knights on Monday night.