Wrong bench, new guy! - Ronald Martinez
The Anaheim Ducks looked like their 2011-2012 season self as they allowed Dallas to run all over them in the loss. This was supposed to be the 'easy' game of the back-to-backs. On Saturday night, they face St. Louis and a whole other host of issues to contend with.
First Period Recap: Jonas Hiller, looking to clearly establish himself as the No. 1 goalie, started in net for the Ducks against the Dallas Stars. He wouldn't be given much help from his teammates in front of him. The Stars dominated the first period as the Ducks had clearly not arrived at the arena yet, allowing the Junior Ducks to play in their place.
When the Ducks don't play well, they get frustrated and when they get frustrated, they fight. This behavior was quickly picked up on by Brad 'Starburns' Staubitz, playing in only his third game of the season. In the 20 minute period, Staubitz managed to pickup 17 penalty minutes and get himself ejected for taking a stick to Stars' defenseman Brendan Dillon's 'no-no zone'.
I'm getting ahead of myself. let's go back to just shy of midway through the first period.
The Ducks substandard penalty kill returned as Staubitz took a roughing minor. 39 seconds later, Trevor Daley gets one past Jonas Hiller, putting the Stars up 1-0.
Corey Perry, off to a very, very slow start on the season, was getting blasted by the Stars the entire game but more-so in the first period. Pears finally had enough and wanted to drop the gloves with Daley. Instead of fighting Daley, Stephane Robidas stepped in and went at it with Perry.
Minutes later is when Brad Staubitz went totally brain dead and attempted neuter Brendan Dillon. For his efforts, he was given a five minute major penalty, a 10 minute misconduct and an early trip to the showers.
With the way the Ducks had been playing up to that point, they're lucky to have gotten away with only one goal against on the continuous five minute power play for the Stars. Playing in his sixth game of the season, the richer Jamie Benn sniped the puck past Hiller.
Near the end of the period, Perry was sucker punched by Vern Fiddler after play had stopped and Perry did nothing in retaliation. Perry ain't no saint but he was given a 'reputation call' of roughing to match Fiddler's. (The officiating, on both sides of the puck, was fugly, to say the least.) Luckily there was other penalty earning action happening at the same time and the Ducks went on the power play. They did nothing with the opportunity.
Second Period Recap: To begin the second, there was a new mask in the Ducks net. Hiller had been replaced by wunderkin Viktor Fasth. There was some confusion at first as to why Hiller was taken out. We'd later find out he was pulled due to a lower-body injury. So much for that whole 'two competent, healthy goalies' thing.
The second period was the Ducks best period of the game. They dumped out the sand in their skates and played with a little bit more energy than the first. Considering the way Bruce looked at the end of the first period (his face was almost purple), he probably dropped a couple hundred f-bombs during the intermission and they took notice.
No matter what the Ducks attempted to do, they couldn't get anything past Kari Lehtonen. I don't know what it is about Anaheim that causes Lehtonen to play each game like he's won a couple dozen Vezina trophies.
The only shot he couldn't stop was a tip in by scoring machine Nick Bonino. Perry made a pass while falling to Luca Sbisa. Sbisa shot a bomb from the blue line and Bonino deflected it past Lehtonen. With that goal, the Ducks packed in their offense for the night.
Third Period Recap: I thought the third period was relatively boring. Both teams were playing conservatively. Fasth made some amazing saves and Lehtonen made some even better saves.
It wouldn't be a Ducks and Stars game without a goal from who else but Loui 'effing Eriksson. There is something about the Ducks that turns Eriksson into Steven Stamkos. Being the sniper he is, he converted a Toni Lydman turnover into an unbelievably quick shot that rocketed past Fasth to ice the game for Dallas. Anaheim was unable to get anything going after his goal. Ducks lose, 3-1.
The Good: Despite giving up one goal on a turnover, Viktor Fasth came into the game 'cold' and held his own. From the beginning of the second period to 12:46 into the third period, he kept the Stars off the board. Is it bad I actually felt more comfortable when he came into the game for Hiller?
The Bad: I know it's only his first game in a Ducks uniform - don't bitch about this - I didn't see any major upside to Ben Lovejoy. I would have liked to have had Sami Vatanen in there for more offense. Just sayin'.
The Ugly: Corey Perry has misplaced his mojo. He's playing physical-ish. He has yet to have Wonder Twin mind meld with Ryan Getzlaf. He's not confident in his shot. I miss the old Perry. I would like that on-ice prick to come back. He plays so much better when he's pissing the other team off.
2nd Icehole: Toni Lydman. I thought he played his worst game of the season tonight. Maybe he's still feeling the after effects of the flu that kept him out of the Colorado game?
1st Icehole: The Anaheim Ducks. Wow were they shitty for a majority of the game. In his post-game scrum, Boudreau said he wanted his team to have a 'long memory' of how poorly they played tonight. Bruce kind of reminded me of my parents when I did something they weren't pleased with. They would be calm and even keeled but make me feel really guilty for disappointing them.
Next Game: Saturday, Feb. 9 at 5:00 PM PST at St. Louis