Unrelated, but a woo-lick on the Kings' maestro of woo-licks is deserving of some front page time
In a radio interview with Dan Wood before tonight's game, Ryan Getzlaf said it was "pretty evident" this Ducks team wasn't going to score a lot of goals per game, so they were going to have to learn to win the one-goal contests. The team has scored in spurts, but with that assessment coming from the Captain and the player ranked 1st or 2nd in points for Anaheim over the last three seasons, let's take him at his word.
Tonight, for the most part, was an example of the one-goal contests that have dominated Anaheim's November. Arthur, if Getzlaf is right about this team living and dying with one-goal games-- and assuming between now and the trade deadline the team makes no major additions beyond Joffrey Lupul --how do you assess this roster's ability to make the playoffs on the strength of their ability to notch the one-goal win?
I think it'll be tough to go the one-goal route from here on out or even just until Murray's annual trade deadline shakeup. The Ducks don't have the defense to sit back and hold a one-goal lead. That means they'll need to be the kind of team that keeps coming at you for three periods and keeps every game close. That's not the team they've been so far, but the teams that come at you in waves are usually built on chemistry and a group of role players that strongly identify with those roles. I don't know if that's the ultimate goal of Carlyle's shuffling, but I often get the feeling he's undoing any progress made on that front. Chemistry and clearly defined roles are definitely something that will need to be achieved going forward.
I still hold out hope that this can be a team that can score a lot of goals. They have the tools to bring a dangerous power play to the rink every night, and they even have scoring threats on the PK. They have speed on some lines and strength on others at 5-on-5, so they can theoretically send two to three different offensive looks over the boards at teams trying to match up against them.
But I have to say that this all feels like theory. This is the same team that should have been good offensively because it was good on paper a few months ago. If that's not the team that they are, and Getzlaf is right that they'll rely on their defensemen, or worse their forwards' ability to play defense to win a series of one-goal games on the way to a successful season, then you have to say it's gonna be tough sledding into the spring. They'll be dead tired even if they do succeed.
I know I asked the question with the assumption that Getzlaf was right, but I think I'm just going to disagree with him outright. I think the team stands a pretty good chance of breaking the one goal habit and making the playoffs with the addition of Joffrey Lupul. But, a few things need to happen.
Fowler needs to stay with Mara, as he did tonight. They have a solid partnership, and though Mara is going to struggle, anyone the Ducks have on the roster is going to struggle playing with Fowler. He is the third best defender on our team, and we don't have a top 4 guy to go with him. At least not until Sbisa turns into one in late February [knocks on wood].
Also, Carlyle needs to stop shuffling his lines, and let a third line build chemistry. He needs to come up with a combination and stick to it. Whoever ends up on the third line, Lupul or Ryan, will still see plenty of special teams minutes. If Bobby loves scoring shorthanded goals so much, then he can stay fresh for those situations by skating third line minutes. Either way, the Ducks need to let their third line develop and be on a consistent rotation. Team defense is easier to play when the top line guys haven't played 23 minutes.
With a permanent third scoring line, the fourth line should be able to develop the identity and chemistry you were emphasizing, which will still be important, even if the Ducks are playing two-goal games. If Anaheim can keep Fowler going all year with a steady partner, and Carlyle can stop shuffling the deck, then the Ducks have the talent to at least make the playoffs, even if they don't learn to be particularly adept at one-goal leads.