Want to know just how important the Ducks scoring the first goal is? Not once this season have the Ducks overcome a deficit to win a game. Ouch.
Unfortunately tonight's game against the Wild was no different. Minnesota scored all their goals in the first period leaving the Ducks with an 0-3 hole to climb out of. With the Ducks primary offensive defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky out of the lineup for four weeks, someone needed to take his place. Answering the call was 19 year old wunderkind d-man, Cam Fowler. Fowler produced the only offense of the night scoring his first goal in the second period while the Ducks and Wild were playing 4-on-4. The Ducks had their chances, but it would be Fowler again that would put the Ducks within one with 49 seconds left in the game. That would be it for scoring and the Ducks would drop their 10th out of the last 12.
Something's gotta give, and I can guarantee you all that will NOT be a coaching or GM change. Both Randy Carlyle and Bob Murray have relatively new contracts. The Ducks aren't going to cut them loose now because they'd still have to shell out the money until their contracts are up. For a budget conscious team, paying the old GM or coach while paying the new GM or coach isn't going to happen.
-- The obvious is Cam Fowler. He had a fantastic game. We've all been waiting for Cam to really start breaking out offensively, and tonight was a great start. I absolutely love watching him skate. There is something so peaceful about it.
-- Aside from Fowler, I thought the second line of Andrew Cogliano, Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu had a strong night. They're beginning to gel, and the speed of the line is really fun to watch. They combined for 6 shots total, although 4 were from Teemu. Koivu lead the team with 62% face-off wins. I've noticed that Cogliano is really good at drawing penalties. He doesn't flop as much as Jordin Tootoo, but he does fall down very easily because he's 3'4".
-- The Ducks out-shot the Wild 34 - 26. The RPG line had a total of 14 shots, but that was not indicative of how their game was (more on that later). D-paring of Fowler and Francois Beauchemin had 8 shots total. Even Andrew Gordon got into the mix with 4 shots of his own. The Ducks may not be getting the bounces right now, but they will.
-- Luca Sbisa had 5 hits in the game. Sbisa plays better when he's being physical than when he's trying to be an offensive threat.
-- Dan Ellis came in at the start of the second period and stopped all 11 of the shots he faced. He was tested a few times, but luckily the Ducks played better in front of him than they did Hiller.
-- Bobby Ryan and Ryan Getzlaf had a bad game. I saw very little hustle in both of their games. Not to mention many of their favorite 'no-look' passes we love so much. Both players are waiting for the perfect play. Right now it's not going to come. They need to start hitting and throwing everything they've got at the net. They have so much talent that even flukey wrist shots have a high chance of going in. It doesn't have to be a highlight reel goal each time.
-- Corey Perry is playing his game. Of course that's a good thing, but now everyone else is taking notice. Goalies are catching Tootoo-itus and are going over extra easy whenever Perry is around. Tonight we saw just that when Nicklas Backstrom, who was out of his crease, bumped into Perry and proceeded to fall on the ice like he'd just been tackled by James Harrison. For this, Perry received a two minute goalie interference penalty. Reputation calls are going to be the bane of Perry's existence for the rest of his career - some deserved and some not.
-- How long until Bob Murray's threats of "I'm not afraid to shake things up in a big way" start? I think it was about 20 games in last season when he began saying that.
-- In the last two games, Jonas Hiller has given up six straight goals before being pulled for Ellis. There have been instances where he couldn't do anything because his own team hasn't been helping out. Tonight I saw a different scenario. He wasn't controlling rebounds. Very often his far side post was wiiiiide open, and the Ducks were lucky the Wild couldn't capitalized. I'm not advocating or suggesting that the Ducks will turn to Ellis as their number one, but they may have to ease up on Hiller being a workhorse so early in the season. The home-and-home versus LA should see Ellis starting one of those nights.