Best: The Top Line
This was easily the twins’ most exciting game of the road trip. After Ritchie was moved up in place of Rakell, the trio was able to get back to their simple, cycle game. They accounted for twelve of Anaheim’s twenty-five shots. The next best forward group in terms of shots for was Kesler’s line with a total of five. Hopefully Carlyle continues to give this old experiment another look.
Worst: Defensive Zone Breakdowns
The Ducks made a concerted effort to minimize Ottawa’s scoring chances and for the most part were successful. However, the Senators quickly capitalized once the Ducks made that very mistake. A strong Ottawa forecheck led to both Lindholm and Kesler turning the puck over behind the Anaheim net. Manson was left in no-mans land and pinched down leaving Dzingel open in the slot. Baby steps.
It’s a rarity to see the Ducks win the puck possession battle yet alone absolutely have their way with the opposing team. But that is exactly what the team accomplished in the second half of the game. For example, the Ducks held the Senators without a single shot attempt from midway through the second period to almost two minutes in the third. That is a great sign moving forward especially coming im the last game of a long road trip.
Worst: Losing in 3 on 3 OT
One day the Ducks will figure out how to play in the extra period, but last night was not that day. A late Cogliano penalty essentially sealed the deal for Ottawa. The lack of creativity denies them any chance of winning the game. I would like to see Sami Vatanen be switched to forward paired with Rakell in an attempt to add some speed. Might as well try something new.
Honorable Mention Worst: The Lack of Top Six Left-Handed Forwards
If the Ducks could put anything on their holiday wish list it should be for an impactful left-handed forward. The power play would change completely. The offense tends to filter to a single side followed by a few passes down low. If Bob Murray could somehow pull off a trade for a lefty shooter (preferably a player that can one-time the puck), it would keep defenses honest and make them protect the entire zone.
3. Jakob Silfverberg
2. Ryan Getzlaf
1. Mike Hoffman