The Anaheim Ducks started off their four game road trip with a battle against the Philadelphia Flyers. Ducks came into this one 14-15-4 with a total of 32 points on the year. I am probably being dramatic, but this east coast road trip could go down as the “fork in the road” for this Ducks’ season. More on that in my “quick thoughts”. Let’s get into the recap.
The first period was full of...energy? Lack of defense? Shots? Dangerous opportunities for both teams? I think all of the above. This was a fun period in which the Ducks had 16 shots on goal to the Flyers’ 12. The Ducks seemed to have better control of the game (in terms of possession and shot attempts), but Carter Hart was up to the task. Not to say John Gibson didn’t come to play as well. It was easy to see that both net minders were locked in early.
A furious first period ended with zero goals.
The Flyers ruined the goalie dual just one minute into the second period. At the tail end of a penalty kill, the Flyers took the puck into the Ducks zone for a semi-three on two rush. Sean Couturier drove up the left side of the offensive zone. He made a cross ice pass over to Travis Konecny who made Cam Fowler commit to him. Claude Giroux had driven to the front of the net and was wide open to receive the Konecny pass. Easy tap in goal to put the Flyers up 1-0.
David Kase, brother of Ondrej Kase, would put the Flyers up 2-0 with 15:48 left in the period. Flyers forward Mogan Frost was able to retrieve a dump in along the right boards. He then fed the puck to the point to defenseman Travis Sanheim who shot low towards the front of the net. Kase (David) was skating hard to the goal crease and was able to tip the puck past Gibby. All in all a really nice play for the younger Kase and the Flyers.
The Ducks would respond though with a power play goal, their fourth consecutive mind-advantage tally in as many games. Hampus Lindholm recovered a puck at the point. He bombed a slap shot toward the net where Rickard Rakell was able to tip the puck just enough to beat Carter Hart. On this goal, Jakob Silfverberg was given the secondary assist which put his points streak at five games (two goals, three assists).
The period would end with the Ducks down 2-1.
**Perhaps the biggest takeaway from this period was Troy Terry needing help off of the ice after a knee to knee hit/penalty courtesy of Flyers RW Nicolas Aube-Kubel. Any time missed by Terry would be a big blow to an already struggling Ducks’ offense. Maybe Daniel Sprong will be sprung from the San Diego Gulls should Terry miss significant time?
The third period got off to a rough start with the Flyers scoring their third goal at the 15:49 mark. Recently recalled Ducks defenseman Jacob Larsson tried a no-look, behind the back pass to the point where he thought Rakell would be. He wasn’t there and was caught by surprise with the pass attempt. This lead to Jakub Voracek picking it up and carrying it into a two on one with Mogan Frost. Michael Del Zotto backed into his own zone and cut off the cross ice pass leaving Gibby to handle Voracek. Voracek was able to glide in, pick his spot, and grip/rip for the goal.
The Ducks pulled the Gibby with 2:25 remaining in the game. Sean Couturier was able to burry an empty net goal with 7.7 seconds left to put the Flyers up 4-1 and drive the nail in the coffin for the Ducks.
- The Ducks seem to be having some bad luck as of late. It seems like every goalie they face gives their best effort and shuts them down. Even though they scored three goals against Henrik Lundqvist in the last game, the King made some outstanding saves to keep it that way. Jonathon Quick also turned in a vintage performance when the Ducks lost to the Kings two games ago. Tonight, Carter Hart was just awesome. So my bigger picture question (which has been asked in various ways all season) is, where/when are the Ducks going to be able to finish these chances? Sometimes goalies just out goalie your team, but the Ducks have had a problem scoring all season.
- The power play is crippling the Ducks’ chances of winning games. Sure they have scored a power play goal in four straight games, but these goals are not due to the power play system itself, more so just pucks finding the back of the net. The Ducks had five power play chances tonight and never looked dangerous. The system and the players in the system look broken and out of sync. Not to say this team is a contender by any means, but when facing a goalie on their game, they need to be able to take more advantage of these opportunities.
- Is there a worse team when facing two on one or three on two breaks? It seems like any time the Ducks are facing an odd man rush they give up the goal. Gibson in particular seems to struggle in the situations. Not sure if it is shell shock from previous seasons of bad defense in front of him, but it just looks like they have zero confidence in defending those situations.
- With this loss, the Ducks are now in the bottom five of the overall league standings. I have and never would advocate for the Ducks to not win games, but this current team just isn’t ready yet. I am fine with them continuing to be competitive in every game (which they are), letting the kids get more experience (which they are) and also potentially securing a top five or top ten pick in the next draft (which they look like they are going to).
BY THE NUMBERS
Total Shots on Goal – DUCKS: 41 FLYERS: 31
5v5 CF% – DUCKS: 59.55% FLYERS: 40.45%
5v5 High Danger Chances For – DUCKS: 14 FLYERS: 5
5v5 xGF – DUCKS: 2.64 FLYERS: 1.21
**All stats courtesy of naturalstattrick.com
**Score card courtesy of hockeystatcards.com
1) Carter Hart - 40 saves on 41 shots faced. He was good. Which was annoying.
2) Sean Couturier - One goal and one assist for the Selke-bound centerman. He seemed to be everywhere for the Flyers even though they were out shot and out chanced.
3) Claude Giroux - One goal and one assist for the Flyers captain.
Tip of the helmet to David Kase as well – he scored a goal for the Flyers and has the edge in the now famous Kase vs Kase showdown. It’s an awesome story, so I wanted to throw a nod Dave’s way for scoring against his big brother Ondrej.
The Ducks will play tonight against the Taylor Ha- uhhh Jack Hughes? led New Jersey Devils at 4 PM PST at Prudential Center.