I'm finding it difficult to gin up the appropriate level of outrage after this loss. While the Ducks dropped another contest (they've lost 7 of their last 8), they put in a decidedly better effort against the Rangers. Despite a slow start (by the end of the second period, the Ducks had only recorded 12 shots), Anaheim came on strong over the game's final 30 minutes and repeatedly had New York on its heels.
New York scored late in the first period when a Jeff Woywitka shot pinballed through a few players and snuck under the pads of a screened Jonas Hiller. Late in the second, as both teams were changing, Bobby Ryan carried in a pass from Corey Perry and snapped a perfectly aimed shot past a stunned Lundqvist. For the rest of the game, both teams would trade quality scoring chances, with the Ducks unable to corral a rebound off Lundqvist's pads and the Rangers unable to solve a spectacular Jonas Hiller.
After an overtime period where New York again had several chances, the game went to a shootout. Erik Christensen scored first for the Rangers on a nice move and Teemu Selanne ultimately tied things up in the second round on his patented forehand-backhand-roof sequence. Marian Gaborik's filthy move on Hiller put the Rangers up 2-1. It would be left to Bobby Ryan to even up the score; however, Ryan was unable to get the puck to settle, leading to a close-quarters shot that Lundqvist got just enough blocker on to stop.
The loss leaves Anaheim with five points through six games on the road trip. They still have a chance to get back to .500 before coming home, but they'll have to get by an angry Red Wings team to do so. G/B/U after the jump.The Good
- Jonas Hiller was magnificent tonight. He made several high-quality saves, using his lightning fast glove hand and right pad to consistently stymie the Rangers. In some ways, it's a minor miracle that the Ducks came away with a point at all given that the Rangers certainly had the better scoring chances throughout the game. Hiller's save against Ryan Callahan on a breakway midway through the third period was one of many examples in tonight's game where Jonas came up large to keep the Ducks in the game. The Ducks could not have asked for a better bounce-back game from their goalie after Tuesday's disappointment in Washington.
- Somehow, Bobby Ryan kept finding himself with the puck as he entered the offensive zone. While he only buried one of these chances, Ryan's consistent threats got to the point that Rangers defenseman were frantically collapsing toward the net when he got the puck. Bobby just managed to be in the right place at the right time several times tonight.
- He's received some flak recently, but Ryan Getzlaf had a pretty nice game himself. He won 11 of the 14 draws he took tonight and his four hits were second only to Francois Beauchemin. Getzlaf also found himself in the high slot on a few occasions tonight and he managed to record 4 SOG, second only to Lubomir Visnovsky.
- As I mentioned above, the Ducks only had 12 shots through two periods. While they would eventually finish with 28, they struggled early to generate any sort of offensive threat.
- Team defense was generally pretty good but broke down at times. In OT, the Rangers had several prolonged possessions and created multiple odd-man rushes as a result of ill-timed pinches by the defenseman. Hiller's outstanding play covered up for many of these mistakes, but the Rangers had far too many quality scoring chances.
- The Ducks just could not get a bounce tonight and Andrew Cogliano was particularly unlucky. Whether it was a puck squirting through his skates or a backhand narrowly missing the net, Cogs in particular, and the Ducks at large, always seemed just a hair off tonight. They were able to create rebounds for the first time in several games tonight but they were never in a position to corral them.
- Corey Perry once again took an ill-advised retaliatory penalty. While the penalty didn't hurt the team, it's another example of a disappointing trend by Perry. Last year, Corey did a good job of managing his emotions. This year, Perry has racked up 22 PIM in 13 games and is on-track for 138 PIM, which would blow away his career high (111 in 2009-2010) in penalties. I know that playing on the edge is part of Perry's game, but this team needs him on the ice. Not only does his being in the box hurt the team offensively, but he also become one of the team's best PKers. So it's a double negative (that does not equal a positive).
- I think the top line may need to adjust their approach at even-strength. While the cycle game has allowed RPG to dominate in past years, opponents seem to be wising up to the strategy and are eager to let them have the boards and the perimeter. Teams are collapsing to the middle of the ice during their shifts and are essentially waiting them out. Ideally, Anaheim's defenseman would be able to utilize this time and space to blast rockets from the point, but thus far, that strategy has not worked. There is some cause for hope though, as Getzlaf began moving into the high slot near the end of the game. This move appeared to open up the offense a little bit and I guess we'll just have to wait and see how their shifts play out over the next five games or so.