Worst: Let’s all cry at this graph.
I would like to present to you, the loyal readers of Anaheim Calling, the saddest of graphs.
For those who may not know how to read this, the blue line is the Ducks and the red line is the Predators. Being the higher of the two lines is generally good, as it indicates greater possession than the line below it. And a lot of the time (if not most of the time), this translates into winning games. Obviously, that was not the case. This graph is a perfect example of how advanced stats just sometimes don’t work out or, in this specific case, tell only one side of the story. Stats like these should really be used in context, and when you see that while the Predators held the puck less and shot less than the Ducks, the shots they did have were from high danger areas that led to goals. Essentially, the Ducks got shot quality’d to death (thanks to SkyonAir at Stanley Cup Of Chowder for that line).
Best: The controlling possession can still be ok!
We obviously know that controlling the game this way doesn’t always work out in your favor (and sometimes blows up in your face, like tonight). But the fact that the Ducks were able to out-shoot the Predators for most of the game and control the pace of play lends itself to some unlucky situations and isn’t much of a reflection of the team’s skill in and of itself. Games like this more often than not end up in the Ducks favor; this was just not one of those games. Mostly due to the fact that Pekka Rinne effectively hulked out and shut down most of the golden chances Anaheim had.
Worst: Passing isn’t that hard, is it?
I don’t know if it was just me, but watching the game it seemed as though way too many passes were not being completed by the Ducks. Pucks were hopping over sticks, getting sent into skates, and sometimes just plain missing targets much more than usual. As a result, the Ducks couldn’t make as much of their possession to set up high-quality plays as they were capable of.
Worst: Consistency is still elusive.
The worst thing to do right now is to panic. Yes, lately it feels as though the Ducks either play a dominating game or get blown out, but the team is still squarely in playoff position (thanks for being awful, Pacific Division!). As the season goes along though, the Ducks are going to have to find some consistency in order to remain in contention and have any hope at making a deep playoff run. Mistakes like those made in this game need to be nipped in the bud soon. One has to wonder what Randy Carlyle is doing to hold this team accountable lately, as it was made pretty clear by Bob Murray that this is the main reason he was brought back.
3) Filip Forsberg
2) James Neal
1) Pekka Rinne