The Anaheim Ducks were looking to open a season 4-0-0 for the first time in franchise history while the Arizona Coyotes were looking to avoid another extended winless start to a season. Ryan Kesler returned to the lineup for the first time this season and was able to score his first goal of the year just a few minutes in. The first ten minutes of the game were largely controlled by Anaheim, with sustained pressure and consistent shots toward the Arizona net. That changed for the worse for the final 50 minutes of regulation, but the Ducks once again were able to find a way to steal a point and push the game to overtime.
The overtime period was about what I expect from 3-on-3 hockey, with chances galore for both teams, but neither was able to find the game-winner. The game moved to a shootout, and Troy “Five Hole” Terry was unable to find the five-hole to be the hero this time around, and the Ducks dropped the second point in the shootout.
All in all, it was another lackluster performance from Anaheim, and they will need to find ways to improve if they want to stockpile points in the standings early in the season. The Coyotes finished the game with 39 shots on goal to the Ducks 25, marking the third time in four games that the Ducks have been out-shot by at least 14 (out-shot 33-15 in SJ and 40-20 in AZ).
“We didn’t manage the puck properly in some areas and we got people on the wrong side of it in some battles ... and obviously our power play. We didn’t generate much off it and we gave up a shorty so those are two areas right away that we can hit as areas of improvement.” - Randy Carlyle
Call me over-critical I guess, but something tells me that the Ducks head coach shouldn’t be brushing a performance like this under the rug with the sole excuse that Anaheim was able to manage getting four breakaways in the game. If getting a few breakaway opportunities is worth it to be out-shot and out-chanced in every single game, I have a heavy concern for the future of this season, and that’s putting it lightly.
At least Felix was there to find some positives to look forward to!
Kesler and his line looked good, Lundestrom looks like a real player, and the Ducks still get 7 out of 8 points to start the season. Help on the way as Getzlaf approaches a return. All in all, it's hard to complain in Ducks land.— Felix Sicard (@Felix_Sicard) October 11, 2018
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
- Ryan Kesler made his debut and scored a goal on his second shift of the season by cleaning up a loose puck in front of the net. A promising return after speculation that he may miss the entirety of this season
- Isac Lundestrom seemed to be in the right place at the right time pretty often and ended up drawing a couple penalties as a result. The kid has a high hockey IQ, and that will benefit the Ducks during their transition to a “speed” game.
- Ben Street scored his first NHL goal to tie the game at two, forcing the overtime period
- Allowing 80 shots on goal over the course of two games against the Arizona Coyotes. If that’s an indicator of how games will be, John Gibson might need some extra padding.
- Giving up a second shorthanded goal in the first four games of the season. Try not to have blocked shots turn into 2-on-1 opportunities the other way (looking at you Fowler)
- Scoring zero goals in the shootout. I just feel robbed of the entertainment.
- Every advanced stat, shot metric, possession metric, and Corsi percentage out there. Seriously, don’t look at those if you like being hopeful.
- John Gibson trying to poke-check against Nick Cousins in the shootout (Note: I still think John Gibson easily deserves being called the best Duck of the season thus far, so please refrain from picking up torches and pitchforks because I included him in the ugly section).
- The 2nd period.
- The 3rd period.
- The description of Ryan Getzlaf’s groin injury (the words “swelling” and “bleeding” were used).
3 Stars of the Game
3. John Gibson - Despite the shootout loss, John Gibson still made 37 saves on 39 shots to push the game into OT. Just another day in the office for him.
2. Isac Lundestrom - If he continues to improve on games like today, Isac will quickly become a nightmare for opposing teams.
1. Ryan Kesler - I mean, c’mon, the guy made a return that few thought he would make AND he scored a goal early in his season debut. I just don’t see how you could not cheer for a guy like that.
The Ducks are back in action on Saturday night when they travel to the American Airlines Center to take on the Dallas Stars, who have scored 12 goals in their first three games of the season. Buckle up.