The only thing pretty about this game was the pictures of Finland shown on TV. Looks like a lovely place.
I believe this quote is appropriate for today's showing by the Ducks, "They are who we thought they were". Yesterday I lamented the history of Game 1's for the organization. Apparently the players spent their day preparing for the game by reading my post. Today's 4-1 loss marks the 14th Game 1 loss in the franchise's 17 year history. Not to worry though, they are at it again tomorrow morning (10:00AM PST) from Sweden against the Rangers. There is nothing like a trip to the land of Ikea furniture, creepy redheaded hockey playing twins, and crazy chefs, to get the boys on the right track.
Before I wipe this game completely from my memory, let's take a look at the G/B/U rundown:
-- That Ryan Miller is pretty talented. He has a bright future. Unlike Tony Romo and Ben Rothlesberger, getting married in the off-season has not hampered his game one bit.
-- It may seem like Jonas Hiller had a bad game, but he really didn't. He was lacking the support he needed to secure the win. I don't think it was truly apparent until this game how much the Ducks will miss Toni Lydman until he returns.
-- The fourth line of Brandon McMillan, George Parros, and Maxime Macenauer! I'd say the first half of the game, they looked the best. They came rushing in the zone like a herd of elephants. Even better, they generated the only goal of the game to new defenseman Nate Guenin (first goal in the NHL).
-- I thought Bobby Ryan had the better game of the Big Line. He had 3 hits, 3 shots, and 1 not-goal on Ryan Miller. Bobby fired the puck after the whistle and it went in the net. Buffalo wasn't too keen to on that.
-- Ryan and Koivu were little shit-stirrers today. Unlike the Detroit opener last season, no one fought, and by no one, I mean RPG.
-- There are 81 games left in the season
-- For a while, I was thinking that the Ducks were trying a little too hard to get the puck to Teemu, just so he could have a goal in front of his adoring Finnish fans. Teemu played OK. 1 shot and 3 giveaways are not the Teemu we're used to. I have to believe this week has been a bit draining on him emotionally, and he'll likely be back to normal tomorrow.
-- Penalty kill went 2-4. About where I'd expect them to be without Lydman. Not great, but not horrible.
-- The third line of Andrew Cogliano, Devante Smith-Pelly, and Andrew Gordon didn't have the magic they had during the preseason.
-- Big line was neutralized
-- Thomas Vanek had 9 shots on goal. NINE. Two of which resulted in goals. What did we say about Hiller needing to face less shots?? Luckily tonight he only faced 25, but 9 (!!!) were from this one guy.
-- The power play that was 3rd in the league last season, and brought back the entirely same unit, went 0-5. I don't think I've ever seen them less in control. They were chasing the puck to the other end of the ice quite a bit, even with a 5-3.