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Ducks @ Canadiens MORNING THOUGHTS: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Ducks fall out of a playoff spot in the tight Western/Pacific race

NHL: Anaheim Ducks at Montreal Canadiens Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

After an excellent close to January, that saw the Ducks win 5 of their last 6 games, they’ve taken a step backwards to start February with back-to-back losses. It looked as though the Anaheim Ducks were in the driver seat to start taking back their throne of the Pacific Division after they knocked off teams like Pittsburgh, LA, Winnipeg, and Boston. However, as one of our fellow writers and podcasters has mentioned, “it’s very difficult to make up ground in this league”.

With the Ducks dropping two games in a row, against struggling teams that were both on losing streaks might I add, the Ducks are back on the outside-looking-in of the playoffs. The loss against the Senators was a little more excusable - goaltender standing on his head, best defenseman in the league, the “this will save our season” Matt Duchene - with the Ducks still managing a point. I mean, no one actually thought the Ducks were about to survive a 4-on-3 overtime.

The loss to to the Montreal Canadiens was just an awful game though, and should’ve been an easy two points for the Ducks. The only good thing about the Habs’ defense (Carey Price) wasn’t even playing. And yet, the Ducks fell flat on their faces in the first period and let Montreal’s defense do most of the damage (4 goals from defensemen).


Worst - How many bad penalties need to happen before it seriously becomes a problem? The Ducks were guilty of 7 penalties against Montreal, and the Habs’ converted 3 of them. A hooking penalty by Kevin Bieksa to kill the Ducks’ early momentum, being called for too many men on the ice that led to a goal. These are the Ducks being undisciplined.

Best - Corey Perry had a strong game and helped generate some quality scoring chances, including scoring a goal during a 5-on-3 powerplay. He may be having an off year, but he shouldn’t be playing on the 4th line, and hopefully he made that message clear enough in the most recent game.

Worst - Poor goaltending and bad defensive positioning killed the Ducks in this game. Ryan Miller is in no way entirely to blame for 3 goals on 7 shots, but it wasn’t his best outing. Reto Berra came in playing as good as Reto Berra could play, but his first goal allowed was embarrassing. The Ducks were caught out of position numerous times defensively though. Allowing 4-on-2 breaks, and putting yourself on the penalty kill often does not result in winning games, go figure.

Three Stars of the Game

3. Antti Niemi - He is not a great goaltender, but he knows how to beat the Ducks for some stupid reason.

2. Corey Perry - He was a part of most of the Ducks scoring chances it seemed, and he was shooting the puck which is what he needs to do.

1. Rickard Rakell - Scoring a goal of his own and adding the primary assist on Perry’s goal, Rakell remains one of the brightest points in Anaheim’s future.

The Ducks will be back in action tomorrow night when they take on the Toronto Maple Leafs at 4pm PST.


Who should be playing on the top line with Getzlaf and Rakell?

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