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Ducks @ Flames RECAP: Almost There

The Ducks drop a 6-1 decision to the Western Conference leaders

NHL: Anaheim Ducks at Calgary Flames Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

The Anaheim Ducks are wrapping up their final road trip of the season through Western Canada, and the first half of the back-to-back did not really go as hoped. Given, the Calgary Flames are the best team in the Western Conference and have been consistently dominating Pacific Division opponents all season long.

The Ducks were able to get on the board first in the opening 20 minutes through the first career NHL goal for Andy Welinski before the Flames dominated possession, shot attempts, and scoring en route to a 6-1 final score in Calgary. Anaheim just couldn’t quite keep up with the Flames and their ability to move the puck effectively through the neutral zone.

In all honesty, whether you are pro-tank or pro-winning, the end of this game signaled that there are only three games remaining in the 2018-19 Anaheim Ducks season, and that makes all of us a little sad. The offseason should be exciting with the Draft, the decisions being made by Bob Murray, and the hope of a new season with young players, but days without a Ducks hockey game just aren’t quite the same.

I don’t think many Ducks fans expected the Ducks to go to Calgary late in the season and come away with a convincing win, but winning and losing shouldn’t matter at this point. What matters is seeing progress from the future of Anaheim, and I think there is a lot of hope there for Ducks fans. An injury to Troy Terry in the 2nd period that resulted in him leaving the arena on crutches with a walking boot was certainly not a good sight, and we can only hope for good news on that account.

Best & Worst

Best

Max Jones - Max Jones continues to be a nuisance for other teams to play against, as he is consistently getting into passing lanes, forcing turnovers, and getting under opponents’ skins. He will be a treasure for the Ducks in the future and I am eager to see how much he can continue to grow under a new head coach and system in the future.

Carter Rowney - Carter Rowney did not appear on the scoresheet last night, but he quietly played a very effective game in his role. He finished the game with three takeaways, a blocked shot and two hits in only 12:46 of ice time. With his three year contract in Anaheim just wrapping up its first season, it’s good to see that the Ducks have a reliable forward in their bottom six that can get the job done on a consistent basis.

Defense - It seems strange saying the defense played well in a game that saw Anaheim give up six goals, but the Ducks were doing a great job of forcing the Calgary chances to come from outside the slot. A majority of the Flames’ goals came from near the blue line, where either the puck just beat Ryan Miller or it was deflected and redirected into the net, which is obviously a very difficult situation to defend against.

Worst

Troy Terry Injury - Troy Terry received a nasty hit at an uncomfortable angle last night and did not appear to be putting any weight on his right leg as he was helped off the ice by teammates. Ducks fans are all hoping that the injury is nothing serious and that Troy’s injury does not become something that affects his future.

Injuries - Honestly, I’m not going to really say anything about the game in particular was “the worst”. The Ducks are only playing for pride at this point, against a team that is fighting to secure the #1 seed through the Western Conference. Anaheim iced a team with scratches including Ryan Getzlaf, Brendan Guhle, Ryan Kesler, Josh Manson, and Nick Ritchie. No matter your feelings on Ryan Kesler or Nick Ritchie, missing three of your top six forwards and two quality defensemen is going to lead to a difficult game on the ice.

The Ducks will be back at it again tonight against Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers, so we’ll see if the Ducks can show up with a positive response to a tough loss in their final road game of the season.