The Ducks pulled another one of their Jekyll and Hyde routines yesterday, deciding to conveniently overlook the first game of this back-to-back set. In what was arguably their worst game of the season, Anaheim gave up the first marker 14 seconds into the game and never recovered.
That first goal was a back-breaker, and through 10 games this season, the Ducks' fate has been directly tied to the opening goal. When they get the first goal of a game, the Ducks are 5-0-1. When they give up the first goal, the Ducks are 0-4-0.
Scoring the first goal in tonight's game will be huge for several reasons. Not only does it apparently correlate nicely with the Ducks getting standings points, but it will also help the Ducks get a shot in the arm after last night's embarrassing effort. Finally, the Ducks cannot afford to take Columbus lightly. We can crack all the jokes we want about Columbus' three points and overpaying for James Wisniewski, but the Ducks have shown a remarkable ability to play down to their weaker opponents and get caught flat-footed.
Over the past three seasons, the Ducks hold a 4-2 record at Nationwide Arena. Here's hoping the offense finally breaks out and gives Dan Ellis a relatively easy go of things today.
[Ed. Note UPDATE: Eric Stephens tweeted that the NHL decided there would be no hearing on Francois Beauchemin's hit on Mike Fisher (video below). Also, Ryan Getzlaf had some choice words on Jordin Tootoo following the Ducks loss.]