The Ducks blew another game that they should’ve won against a team in the bottom 10 of the league. They outplayed the Red Wings, but costly turnovers led to the Ducks walking away with zero points and their road to the playoffs becoming that much harder. There is a small silver lining. The Pacific division did terrible last night.
Only win for Ducks last night came off the ice with CGY, LA and SJ all losing in regulation. Second and third spots in Pacific might be a crawl to the finish.— Eric Stephens (@icemancometh) February 14, 2018
With Calgary, Los Angeles, and San Jose all losing, the loss to the Ducks isn’t as bad as it could have been. However, with less and less games remaining and opponents having games in hand, it’s nights like these on which the Ducks need to capitalize. They played an inferior team, and could’ve taken a huge step in the playoff race. You can call this night a wash at best, but Anaheim missed an opportunity here.
Best and Worst
Best - The Ducks outshot Detroit. They dominated the face-off circle. They got traffic up front to cause rebounds. The Ducks did just about everything right, which makes the loss that much more frustrating. The Ducks have been doing well at getting shots on net and outshooting opponents. They just haven’t been able to win many games lately because of it. This is still a positive thing for the Ducks and if they get some confidence, and some luck, they have the pieces needed to go on a late run to sneak into playoffs.
Perry: "You can't dwell on this. You move on. It's a matter of getting ready for Chicago. We have three games left in this road trip. We can still turn this around."— Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) February 14, 2018
Worst - Watching Kevin Bieksa and Nick Ritchie on the ice is nothing short of painful and infuriating. They both seem to be in the wrong position more often than not, and they don’t know what to do with the puck when they have it, which usually ends in a change of posession. Both took terrible penalties last night- Ritchie coming early in the game after the whistle (dirty), and Bieksa got one at the end making the Ducks unable to get quality time with the goalie pulled. Bieksa also had his horrible “have a free goal” giveaway in the first.
It’s time these two had their careers with the Ducks come to an end. Which brings us to the actual worst part - there’s no way to get rid of them this season! Bieksa has one year remaining on his contract, and with a NTC included we can’t trade him. The best we can hope for is Bob Murray lets him walk and become another team’s problem. But Carlyle can certainly pull his head out of his ass and reduce his minutes.
Nick Ritchie isn’t protected from being traded, but the problem lies with the question “why anyone would want him?”. I don’t see his value being able to get any sort of return. The only trade option would be to package him in with draft picks or a much better player. Say, I don’t know, Max Pacioretty, or literally anyone not named Nick Ritchie. I’m not sure if the Ducks want to give up any of their current pieces in a package deal however. I guess we’ll see at the deadline.
Three Stars of the Game
3. Kevin Bieksa - He had two primary assists tonight! Although, one of them was the giveaway to Larkin right in front of the net. He’s doing his best to show us he shouldn’t be playing, and for that he gets a star.
2. Jimmy Howard - Howard didn’t have any miraculous saves to keep the lead, but he still faced 33 shots and stopped 32.
1. Adam Henrique - Scoring the lone goal for the Ducks, Rico has 11 points in his past 13 games.
The Ducks next chance to turn things comes Thursday when the take on the struggling Chicago Blackhawks. Puck drops in the United Center at 5:30pm PST.