You're lucky the Islanders came out with those black jerseys, but these are still pushing it. - USA TODAY Sports
The three game series between the Ducks and Coyotes is over. Unfortunately the Ducks got swept in back to back shootouts. All that remains is a single game against a division opponent, that the Ducks need to win in order to get back on track.
Going into Monday night's rematch of the Ducks and Coyotes in Glendale, I was SURE that it was going to be a tight, defensive matchup after the cluster of a game that we saw on Saturday. Shows what I know.
It's pretty hard to believe that something like that will happen again. The big difference this time is that the Ducks were able to practice yesterday. Bruce Boudreau gave the team a day off on Sunday, after having played in back to back nights and showing fatigue late in Saturday's 5-4 shootout loss. They promptly came out and gave up three separate leads and lost 5-4 in the skills competition for the second game in a row.
For the better part of three weeks, the Ducks had major success in coming from behind to win games. At one point they were on a six game winning streak, and they had trailed in every single one. Since then they've only won one of their four games, and in that win (against Minnesota on Friday) they held a three goal lead entering the third period, only to hold on for a one goal win.
Monday's game preview headline referred to the common sentiment that, "Good teams don't lose two in a row." While that's true to some extent, good teams NEVER give up six leads over the course of two games. I still believe that the Ducks are a good team, but in order to avoid the fall from grace that we saw the Wild fall to last year and has been predicted by many in the hockey world, they need to stop the bleeding tonight.
Kyle Palmieri didn't skate yesterday and, according to Boudreau in the above linked practice report, is unlikely to (read: absolutely will not) play tonight. While the defensemen have been rotated in and out of the lineup over the past few games for rest, Bryan Allen was kept out of the two Phoenix games for the dreaded "flu-like symptoms." I wouldn't be surprised to see him inserted for Ben Lovejoy tonight. Flu like symptoms or not, something has to change with this defense.