On a night that saw Anaheim welcome back Francois Beauchemin with 2014 Stadium Series throwback jerseys, the play on the ice did not quite match the festivities elsewhere in Honda Center.
Lackadaisical play and execution problems abounded in the Ducks 4-1 loss at the hands of the Carolina Hurricanes. The Canes controlled 60% of the shot attempts and held Anaheim to just 4 high danger chances the entire game. This, without Rickard Rakell dealing with a day-to-day lower body injury.
The start was certainly encouraging. Jakob Silfverberg got a shorthanded break that he rang off the post. A failed clearing attempt led to Jake Dotchin picking up the puck at the point and delivering a shot that glanced off of Silfverberg’s skate and behind Carolina goaltender Petr Mrazek. With that goal, the Ducks had their first shorthanded goal of the season (cries in Andrew Cogliano) and Silfverberg’s 100th career goal.
The second period was a slightly better one for Anaheim controlling 56% of the shot attempts on the ice. Unfortunately, the lead would evaporate when rookie Clark Bishop got upended by Hampus Lindholm and slid into John Gibson. An initial no-goal call was reversed when review determined that the puck had gone in before the net came off its moorings in the collision. Randy Carlyle challenged for goalie interference, but the review confirmed that Lindholm had initiated contact with Bishop. The rookie had his first career NHL goal.
The 3rd period saw Anaheim play some of its worst hockey this season. The trend of never giving up demonstrated on the recent road trip was all but forgotten with the Hurricanes controlling 72% of the shot attempts.
Brett Pesce gave them the lead when he swatted a Teuvo Teravainen bouncing pass past a frozen Gibson, who looked like a high-schooler trying to furiously figure out an SAT math problem in the seconds after the goal.
Just one minute later, Bishop wound up for a slapshot that got Gibson’s shoulder and rolled down his back. Justin Williams was right there to bat the puck home and give Caroline a 3-1 lead.
While one might have expected the Ducks to rally and at least put of a valiant effort to get back into the game, no such push came. The players looked like they were late for Friday night dinner reservations and wanted to end the game as quickly as possible.
Sebastian Aho sealed the victory for Carolina with an empty net goal to give the Hurricanes a 4-1 win, snapping Anaheim’s winning streak.
Best and Worst
Best: Silfverberg’s 100th goal
Milestones are always a great occasion. If there was only going to be one Ducks goal in this game, at least it was a significant one. 90 of which have come wearing an Anaheim sweater. By the very nature of his play as a 2-way forward, the Swede won’t score a ton. But he is reliable and is a good depth scorer. 100 goals well earned.
Worst: No fire to win
After several examples of pushing the envelope and refusing to lay over and die over the previous 10 games, Anaheim decided they would rather spend their energy somewhere other than on the game. An inability to transition and press the issue, especially when down in the 3rd period, resulted in a lifeless flop of something vaguely resembling the game of hockey.
Best: The Jake Dotchin/Josh Mahura pairing
One of the few bright spots in the lineup tonight, the young 3rd pairing looked comfortable in the fast Hurricanes game plan. Smart defensive plays and generating what little shot attempts the Ducks had were some of the few signs of life this team exhibited. Over the last 2 games since Marcus Pettersson was traded and this bottom pairing was solidified, all they’ve done is control 66% of the shots on the ice to go along with 68% of the scoring chances. There just might be something here.
Worst: This heat map
Want a visual representation to demonstrate just how non-threading the Ducks were? Join your fellow masochists here at Anaheim Calling and gaze in disgust at this shot attempt heat map, courtesy of the fine folks at Natural Stat Trick.
3. Jakob Silfverberg
2. Teuvo Teravainen
1. Clark Bishop