Have you ever had one of those dreams where you're outside your body and watching life go on without you? That's about how I feel right now, as I begin to write this recap less than 10 minutes after the Ducks lost in overtime to the Washington Capitals. Is it shock? I really don't know. How the hell did the Ducks lose that game?
I was ready to write this recap hailing this game as one of the best of this young season - even though they let Washington cut it too close at the end. I still can't believe I'm not writing that. I think if I wasn't so stunned, I would be nauseous.
While this loss sucks, there were many positives the Ducks can take away from tonight. G/B/U after the jump.
-- TEEEEMMMUUUUUU!!! I don't care what anyone says, the real Great 8 is ours. If/when Alex Ovechkin passes Teemu Selanne's records then we'll talk about giving him the title, but right now it's Teemu. I also don't care how old he is. I care about his production and tonight he gave the Ducks two goals.
-- For the first time in what feels like forever (ok, since the Minnesota game), the Ducks lead 98% of the game. They came out in the first period like a whole new team. They were energetic and physical. With that kind of start, the Ducks were able to get out and ahead of the Caps by two goals, adding one more at with an almost equally powerful start of the second.
-- Saku Koivu got off the schnide (thanks Dad for using that all the time). Koivu finally scored his first goal of the year to open the game. As a huge Koivu fan, I was listening to the game in my office and gave a huge clap and a loud "YEAAAHHH" when he scored. He also set up one of the most beautiful passes to Selanne that I've ever seen.
-- Andrew Cogliano proved to be the magic potion that the second line needed to get going. Ok, so he didn't have any points on Teemu and Saku's goals and happened to be on the ice in OT when the Caps scored, but it was an improvement. All three were the only players in the plus column tonight with the Finns at +3 and Cogs at +2. (By the way, we need to name this line. Best so far is SAT.)
-- I love X-Men, and I have decided to rename Francois Beauchemin, "The Beast". After knocking Mike Fisher back to the days when Carrie Underwood was on American Idol, he amped up his game again. He lead the team with 8 hits. I saw Lydman dish out more than the 1 hit he was credited for.
-- Let's all be supportive of Getzy for a moment. He had a great night in the faceoff circle winning 12 draws and losing only 6. Woohoo! Good job, Ryan! That's our special boy!
-- The Ducks were 1 for 1 on the power play and 3 for 3 on the penalty kill.
-- Yeah, yeah. At least we got a point. A point that stinks of shame.
-- Back to being a two-line team. With Cogliano up with the Finns and RPG back together, the offense was provided by those two groups of Ducks only. Toni Lydman (1) and Nick Bonino (2) were the only other players to record shots. In all honestly, I'd rather have that then putting my hopes and dreams in the arms of a revolving door of 3rd and 4th line combinations.
-- Even with 12 shots by the first two lines and 3 shots by everyone else, the Ducks managed 15 shots to Washington's 40. Sure 4 of those 15 shots went in, but think of how much more vulnerable they would have made Tomas Vokoun had they fired on the net even more.
-- The fourth line of Maxime Macenauer, Matt Beleskey, and Devante Smith-Pelly played less than 8 minutes each. Smith-Pelly played his 10th game of the season (all 6 minutes of it). Since the Ducks didn't send him back to juniors after the 9th game, he has now triggered the first year of his contract - regardless of what the Ducks ultimately decide to do with him.
-- Shame on me for pumping the tires of Niklas Backstrom in my game preview. The Gods of Magumbo show no mercy. You'd think I would have learned after Louii Eriksson.
-- 42 seconds left and the opposition scores - stop me if you've heard this one before. Multiple times the previous season, we found ourselves holding our collective breaths at the end of games, praying that the Ducks could hold on to their one goal lead. When that "One minute remaining in the third period" announcement is made, the Ducks brains click to cruise control. It's soooo cliche and I'm sure we're going to hear it multiple times over the next few days, but you have to play the full 60 minutes. It doesn't matter if we lead the league in wins with a one goal margin last year, they should be able to close it out or at least make it a blow out with amount of offense we have.
-- There are going to be good bounces and there are going to be bad bounces. Jonas Hiller was on the end of several bad bounces tonight. The normally sharp Hiller struggled tonight, and for once, his defense was bailing him out. (I think Sheldon Brookbank even blocked a shot with his ahem 'special purpose'.) It was an off night, but no one should be jumping off the cliff over this. And 'hush' to those of you that thought he should have been pulled in the third. A cold Dan Ellis would have been better for the Ducks at that point in the game? I have to disagree.
-- The top line of Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, and Bobby Ryan together make a smidge over $16M a year. It's a bargain for that talent, but at the same time, as the highest paid players on the team, they need to play more consistently. I thought Perry was the better of the three tonight with his kick ass power play goal. Bobby was almost non-existent. They were all a -2. You know who else was a minus -2? Nick Bonino and Brandon McMillan - two players with half as much talent as those three have.
-- I don't claim to know the intricacies of hockey and how covering the defensive zone goes, but where was Bobby Ryan when Washington was attacking in OT? Backstrom was wiiiide open.
-- Add Keith Jones of Versus to the list of people that make me want to punch myself in the face. I could have sworn I was watching the Caps feed of the game. In reality, the DC area was blacked out from the VS broadcast.