Normally, I would be livid at the result of this game, but instead, I just kinda' feel sorry for the Ducks. It was evident from the drop of the puck that this group was exhausted. This agonizingly long road trip had the Ducks away from home for 13 days, and thy were now playing game 6 of 6 against the Red Wings at the unfriendly confines of The Fortress of Doom (Joe Louis Arena). Currently, the road trip sits as the longest in Ducks history, but frightfully, the Ducks have a future road trip that will go even longer with 8 games in 15 days. But that is neither here nor there.
The Ducks were so drained that when the scoring by Detroit started to get out of hand, even the most emotionally volatile of the Ducks (Getzlaf, Beleskey, Perry, etc.) has little energy to retaliate. This was a Ducks team that was physically going through the motions while their minds drifted towards the plane ride home. When a Luca Sbisa goal was nixed by the refs for marginal goalie interference call on Corey Perry ("reputation call" as Brian Hayward put it), there was no fight in the Ducks to even argue. It was less of a 'must win' game for the team, than it was a 'try to get through' game.
The 5-0 score is not a good indicator of how Hiller played. He wasn't lights out, but he was solid, considering the Red Wings were throwing EVERYTHING at the net. I used to watch the Nicktoon "Rocko's Modern Life". There was a character named Filbert that had OCD. When he read comic books, he'd say, "Turn the page, wash your hands. Turn the page, wash your hands" over and over. That is how the Red Wings acted tonight. Skate over blue line, fire puck on net. Skate over blue line, fire puck on net. It's no surprise that they had 50, yes 50, shots on goal. Video has not been posted yet, but many of the goals were slapshots from far away that bounced off a couple players before going in.
As I write this, the Ducks are readying themselves for the flight back to Southern California. The next 11 of 13 games will be at Honda Center with only trips to LA and Phoenix disrupting their stay. The long home-stand is exactly what the Ducks need to right the ship. They'll likely be given Sunday off and then it's back to work to prepare for Nashville on Wednesday.
Good, bad, ugly coming up...
* Making his NHL debut tonight was Peter Holland, who was called up to replace the injured Nick Bonino (hyper-extended knee). He played typical rookie 3rd/4th line minutes with 11:05 - more time than Matt Beleskey (8:34) and Andrew Gordon (9:04). He was one of the few Ducks that ended up even for the night and walked away with 2 hits. Not sure if that's enough in Carlyle's mind to earn him a seat on the flight back to Anaheim, but I'd like to see him again.
* I thought Ryan Getzlaf had a halfway decent game. He was sluggish as well, but not completely awful. He had 3 shots on goal (tied for most on team with Koivu), 4 hits, and 2 blocked shots. He could just be really tired, but he kept his composure when things weren't going well.
* The penalty kill continues to be solid going 1 for 4. How we are better at short-handed defense than we are even-strength defense is beyond me.
* Kurtis Foster was inserted into the lineup instead of Sheldon Brookbank. Foster took some ill-advised penalties that will likely not win him favor with Carlyle, but his physical presence was a refreshing, leading the team with 5 hits.
* The strongest line of the night (for the most part) was the Selanne-Koivu-Cogliano line. They were the only complete line to have an even night by not being on the ice for any of Detroit's 5 goals.
* Maxime Macenauer had 2 shots, 2 blocked shots, and 3 take-aways. I like this kid.
* This one is a slightly odd good thing, but I was happy Carlyle took Hiller out after the 5th goal (with around 10-ish minutes to go in the 3rd). Not only does this save his abysmal GAA from anymore damage, but it keeps Hiller from the constant net crashing by Detroit. Hiller stopped 40 of 45 shots. Dan Ellis came in and saved all 5 he faced. For all those out there that think it's time that Ellis replace Hiller - keep wearing your tinfoil hats. There isn't likely to be a starter switch anytime soon.
* The RPG line had as many shots (5) as they had giveaways.
* It will be a rare cold day in hell when Corey Perry starts getting calls. Earning the Hart Trophy with the highest number of PIM of the nominees garners even more negative attention.
* The power play had five chances tonight and could not connect on any of them. After Selanne was tossed (see below), it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that the PP's struggles would continue. Even before that, the first PP unit could not get set up and seemed to cement themselves in whatever spot their skates came to a stop in. We've had one of the best power plays in the league for years, so this is beginning to get embarrassing.
* Will Nicklas Lidstrom retire already?! 2 goals, 1 assist, and continued domination of the Ducks.
* Cam Fowler had a horrific +/- last season, and he's started to follow the same path this year. He was a -4 on the night, but he also played far and away team high in minutes at 27:50. The next closest in ice-time is his partner Francois Beauchemin (-3) with 23:56.
* None of the centers had a faceoff win percentage higher than 44%, which belong to Koivu. Koivu was 11 wins and 14 losses, Holland was 4 and 7, Macenauer was 3 and 6, Getzlaf was 5 and 11. I'm willing to give Getzy a little slack seeing as he was either facing Henrik Zetterberg or Pavel Datsyuk.
* We know that Teemu Selanne has a tendency to chirp at the referees during games. Usually he's afforded the right because of his 100 plus years in the league. Tonight, the stripes weren't having it, and sent Selanne off the ice with a misconduct penalty, a game misconduct penalty, and a minor penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct for something he said. Whatever it was, I hope it was good. (By the way, if you're like me and have Selanne on your fantasy team, you probably won the penalty minute battle with him having a total of 22 for the game.)