I'm not so much angry as I am annoyed tonight. Don't get me wrong, St. Louis is one hell of a team. They are scary good, and the Ducks kept up with them for the first two periods. Then it all went terribly wrong. I don't know what happened in the second period intermission. The team that emerged forgot how to play solid hockey. They collapsed under the constant push of the Blues. It was a mix of everyone trying to do too much and feelings of self defeat. The worst part for me was that other teams we needed to lose actually did, and the Ducks couldn't get the points to push them closer to 8th.
I'm in denial. I want to believe they can pull off the miracle and get into the playoffs; however, they'll need just that - a miracle. I gave them three losses max in the final 15 games of the season to still be in the hunt. Yet after watching the defeated, frustrated team I saw tonight, I just don't think they've got it in them. They just look tired. I hope they prove me wrong.
-- How fun is Devante Smith-Pelly to watch? He is at full speed and max effort every time his skate hits the ice. He was tied with Francois Beauchemin for a team high five hits on the night.
-- There was a scary moment where Jonas Hiller's knee was clipped by one of the Blues. Hiller skated off the injury and didn't seem to experience any ill effects the rest of the game. I think he had a pretty good night for the most part. He was just missing the support in front of him.
-- When the game was pretty much done, I was expecting the Ducks to revert to their frustrated selves and fight everything that skated past them. Tonight they all kept their emotions in check. I even saw Corey Perry skate away after getting a face wash.
-- Nick Bonino has been good for the Ducks on the 3rd line. He's certainly a much better center than Andrew Cogliano (taking over at center he went 2 for 9). Bonino left the game midway through the second period and did not return. Boudreau said that he had everyone's favorite, a "lower body injury", and would be re-evaluated tomorrow. There is speculation that it's either a knee or an ankle. I saw people calling for Peter Holland to get on a flight. I wouldn't be surprised if we saw Riley Holzapfel (acquired from the Jets for Maxime Macenauer) get the call up. He had some big league experience with Jets earlier in the season.
-- I expected a better game from Bobby Ryan after his comments to the register. He had his chances, but otherwise he went relatively unnoticed a majority of the game. As I said in the open, actions speak louder than words. If he wants to be an anchor, he's got to get more involved. If he doesn't feel like he's got the offense tonight, then he needs to throw the body to get the ice open for Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu. It's not just about scoring goals, it's about making the team better as a whole.
-- Penalty kill has taken a nosedive. The PK at one point this season was as high as 10th in the league and they are now at 17th. Don't even get me started on the power play. Eric Stephens tweeted it earlier this evening that in his opinion, Getzlaf isn't a good point-man. I'm inclined to agree. Where did it all go so wrong?!
-- In the third period, the defensive paring of Toni Lydman and Sheldon Brookbank played a shade over two minutes. They were likely not used because the Ducks needed offense and they are considered shutdown defensemen. I do wish that Brookbank was out there more. He could match the physical play of the Blues better than Lubomir Visnovsky or Cam Fowler.
-- Speaking of Lubo, does anyone else think he's hurt? There is something that is just off about him and it's reminiscent of earlier this season when we learned he had two broken fingers. I wouldn't be surprised if his shoulder is bothering him again. Remember, he had a separated shoulder following the end of last season that he didn't have surgery on. Perhaps that's coming back to haunt him.