After a gutsy performance that saw them fall just short in Detroit, the Ducks now face what looks like a proverbial trap game. As Jen noted in her Red Wings recap, the Ducks are going from first-to-worst in terms of competition, but need to find a way to bring the same intensity and effort tonight.
Instead of focusing on the potential risks the Ducks face tonight, I'm going to take a different tack and talk about this game as an opportunity. Columbus ranks second-to-last in the league in goals against per game, letting in an average of 3.18 goals per contest. They also feature the lowest ranked PK in league, managing to kill off only 76.2% of chances. I'm pretty sure you can see where I'm going with this.
Although the Ducks are 3-1-2 since the break, they are only averaging 2.5 goals per game in that stretch, well below the 3.36 goals per game they were averaging during their torrid stretch in January. In the six games since the break, the Ducks have had 25 (!!!) PP opportunities, but have scored only twice, for a miserable 8 percent success rate. To make matters worse, the Ducks' big three of Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, and Bobby Ryan have only registered a combined 2 goals and 5 points in that time. Simply stated, that's not getting it done.
The Ducks need an offensive explosion tonight to get some of their mojo back. Despite their recent struggles on the scoresheet, they have managed to earn a point in five of the six games since the break. Ideally, tonight's game will be a laugher, with the Ducks putting up five or so goals. With a tough stretch of games to follow, they need to take advantage of the Blue Jackets tonight and get some offensive confidence back.