The Anaheim Ducks couldn’t capitalize on enough scoring chances as they lose 4-1 against the New York Rangers Tuesday night, dropping both games of their back-to-back. It’s a little difficult to reflect on because it started out looking like the Ducks were in control, getting some great scoring chances to start the game and really testing Henrik Lundqvist and the Rangers early.
Then a late goal by the Rangers with less than a minute to play in the first shifted the momentum. Follow it up with another goal by the Rangers less than a minute into the second period and the Ducks never recovered.
Ondrej Kase did manage to get one on the board for the Ducks in the third, beating Lundqvist with a wrist shot from the slot after receiving a pass from Ryan Getzlaf. Even with the Ducks actually out shooting their opponent, they couldn’t generate good enough scoring chances to beat The King.
For the most part though, the Ducks looked to have the same poor defensive structure. They got caught standing still and watching pucks, not hustling to loose pucks or getting good positioning to make strong plays defensively.
With the NHL closing in on the halfway mark, and the Ducks still sitting 3 points out of a playoff spot, they’ll need to really focus on playing a complete 200-foot game and find a way to get some much needed points out of the remainder of this road trip.
Best and Worst
BEST - The Ducks managed to outshoot the opponent (which is a rarity this season). It didn’t result in a win, but it’s a step in the right direction. That’s about it for this game.
WORST - Randy Carlyle opting to sit Brandon Montour. Montour loves to jump up on the rush and contribute offensively, which sometimes leaves defensive vulnerabilities open for the Ducks. It cost them last game against the New Jersey Devils as Montour went minus 3. However, Montour’s overall play still makes him a better option than Kevin Bieksa, Francois Beauchemin, or rookie Welenski.
Eric Stephens of the OCR had a quote from Randy Carlyle on sitting Montour. “I felt there was some areas that he needed to shore up. I told him so and that’s what goes into a coach’s decision. He’s a good player and he’s going to continue to be a good player.”
Three Stars of the Game
1. Ondrej Kase - He had the lone goal of the game. Beautiful shot to get the Ducks on the board.
2. Henrik Lundqvist - He’s called the King for a reason. He was great in net tonight stopping 39 shots including some key saves early on.
3. Kevin Bieksa - Because obviously when Bieksa leads your team in shots (7 total), instead of trying to not give up too many scoring chances, you stand a good chance of winning.
The Ducks will be back in action Thursday night as they head over to Brooklyn to take on John Tavares and the New York Islanders at 4pm PST.