With the first game of the regular season behind them the Ducks will look to avenge their loss to the Sharks when they will take on the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday in the first of a four game road trip. The puck will drop at 6:00pm PST, but make sure to check back here for a complete preview and other team news in the hours leading up to the game.
The NHL will take a break from action today as teams will have a day to rest and recover from a hectic Saturday schedule that saw every team in the NHL play. With the games that took place in Sweden and Finland, the NHL was proudly able to say that there were 15 games taking place in four different countries, something that’s never happened before.
The Ducks, however, will have to get right back to work after a disappointing loss to the Sharks. The Ducks were outplayed in every aspect of the game, particularly special teams, and will need to address these going forward.
The biggest issue, though, was the lack of “snarl” that the team is used to. Everyone knew that the loss of Chris Pronger would be huge, but last night’s game showed exactly how big of a difference Pronger makes. The Sharks were parked in front of the Ducks’ net all night long, and no one moved them aside. Sharks players took liberties with the smaller Ducks defencemen and Shark forwards charged the net with reckless abandon throughout the game.
The Ducks will have to learn to play without Pronger. They did just fine when Coach Randy Carlyle got here with only Scott Niedermayer on the blue line, and the Ducks will need to learn to play that style of hockey again. Adding Nick Boynton to the lineup, who should have played in game one in my opinion, will help with that.
The Ducks were not making good decisions and their passing was off. They had a ton of power play chances and did not capitalize on one until it was too late. The team looked a step behind on every play, and the Sharks were out-working the Ducks in every battle. The Ducks looked weak on the puck with the little time they had it, especially the RPG line. The line was and is supposed to be one of the top lines in the league but that clearly was not the case last night.
Of course it’s only one game so there’s no need to bring down the hammer just yet. But if the Ducks don’t show improvement in Tuesday night’s game, Ducks fans might be in for a very long season.
To see highlights of last night’s game, click here.