Who the hell is Mike Smith?! And how the hell did he stop that?!
Not much of what I said in the opening thread today came true. The Ducks got behind early and were outworked for large portions of the game later, on their way to a 5-4 loss as they hit the road for their next seven. So, without further ado, The G.B.U.
-Ryan Getzlaf got off the schneid with his first two goals of the season. First he gave the Ducks a 2-1 lead - incidentally the first lead change in a Ducks game this season – with a deflection of a Teemu Selanne shot in the first period. His second goal (with Dan Ellis pulled for the extra attacker) brought the Ducks within one, but it was too little too late.
-The Ducks played seven defensemen tonight and as such Randy Carlyle was open to make all kinds of imaginative line combinations. One that I personally liked, in theory, was the line of Brandon McMillan, Maxime Macenauer and Devante Smith-Pelly. It might not be a good sign for DSP that he’s been demoted to the fourth line before the club has to make a decision on whether to keep him or send him back to juniors for the year, but it’s not necessarily the kiss of death considering his skill set. Still, I like the idea of a fourth line with three guys that can be slotted in on the PK and moved up and down the lineup to fit the situation so they don’t have to waste away on the bench waiting for their four minutes of ice time.
-The Francois Beauchemin/Cam Fowler pairing. Fowler ended up with an even plus minus and Beauch a -2. They have not looked good together. The passes directly into the crease and the tendency to skate the puck right across the goal mouth under pressure have to stop. It might be time for Carlyle to shuffle up the D pairings along with the forwards for once.
-The crowd. I understand it’s a Coyotes game and it’s not going to be a "playoff atmosphere" but the audience didn’t even seem to recognize a penalty until someone was physically sitting in the box. At one point I actually recognized Saku Koivu was on the ice by his VOICE! The Ducks play didn’t help, but come on guys.
-The second period. The team that we saw Friday night against Dallas returned in the second period and gave up three goals in less than three and a half minutes. Blasé defense, soft passes, turnovers, perimeter play in the offensive zone; everything that was wrong with the previous game came back to haunt the Ducks tonight.
-Jonas Hiller let in a couple of malodorous goals. First and foremost among them, Martin Hanzal’s slap shot from the blue line that squeaked right between the arm and the body of the net minder. Hanzal had all kinds of time due to an ill timed change by Cam Fowler, but regardless of that, no NHL goaltender should let that puck in.
Boyd Gordon’s goal in the second period to make it a 3-2 game was more indicative of the struggles that Hiller had tonight. Instead of staying calm and deep in his net when the puck went behind the goal, he went for a swim in the crease and left a gaping cage open for Gordon on the short side. On several other occasions he had trouble finding rebounds. He didn’t seem to have much awareness for where the puck was and he certainly wasn’t his usual composed self. One can only hope that it isn’t anything more than an off night.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ellis start Tuesday in Chicago. As terrible as Hiller was tonight, he didn’t get much help and the calls from the guy two rows ahead of me to "Trade Hiller" were desperately premature.