The Ducks’ up and down season continued today with a decidedly down game. The Ducks were out of sync all night long, looking more than a step slow all night and missing on passes time after time. The team squandered three power play chances in the first period and allowed two power play goals, thereby worsening the team’s special teams percentages.
This was one of those games where nothing went right. It started off early when Ryan Getzlaf made some terrible plays while playing defense on the power play. He tried to make several back passes but had them intercepted, wasting precious power play time. But you got the feeling that even if the Ducks did have the puck they wouldn’t have done anything with it.
The passing was terrible, the team looked slow, and there was more indecision than at any other point this season. The team looked lost. There was nothing positive going on and everyone can take equal blame for tonight’s game.
There was one bright spot, though. The fourth line of George Parros, Ryan Carter, and Mike Brown played another strong game tonight, proving that they earn every second of ice time they get. They worked hard, skated out every puck, fore-checked, and made hits at every opportunity.
The Ducks can learn from them. The hard work of the fourth line, and Saku Koivu as well, needs to become contagious or the Ducks will risk falling to the bottom of the Western Conference. Getzlaf looked slow and every player on the top two lines strayed from the game plan after an ineffective first period. Basically, everyone tried making one-on-one plays instead of skating hard and making passes.
Though if you watched them at all, you might agree that it was for the best. If they still kept the statistic of passing percentage, which measures the accuracy of passes, the Ducks’ almost certainly would have been below 25%. Passes were constantly in skates, behind players, or deflected off Blues’ sticks, if not intercepted completely.
But lets give the Blues some credit. They had effective penalty kills at the beginning of the game and got some good saves from backup goalie Ty Conklin. They played a hard-nosed game, another thing the Ducks need to learn to do, and earned the victory just as much as the Ducks gave it away.
Coach Randy Carlyle must change his tactics though. He tried all different kinds of line combinations in the second period before returning to the starting combinations. But this Ducks team needs to be ready to start games. They come out slow in every single game and are as inconsistent as any team I’ve ever seen play. I’m all for Carlyle ripping into the team verbally tonight and making the team skate suicide drills at practice tomorrow.
Carlyle said it to the team earlier this season and needs to say it again: “Wake the f*** up!”
Here’s the summary from the Associated Press:
Ty Conklin made 26 saves to earn his first shutout of the season and the 10th of his NHL career.
After consecutive wins over Detroit in Sweden two weeks ago, the Blues had lost three straight back in North America, going 0-10 on the power play.
St. Louis quickly reversed the trend against the Ducks. Patrick Berglund and Carlo Colaiacovo scored man-advantage goals for a 2-0 lead early in the second period.
Berglund slammed a rebound of a point shot by Oshie past Hiller, giving St. Louis a 1-0 lead just 4:25 in. Colaiacovo sent a wrist shot from the point past Hiller during another power play 2:35 into the second.
Just 2:37 later, McDonald fired in a behind-the-net feed from Johnson to make it 3-0.
The Ducks had a chance to get back in the game when Darryl Sydor was issued a four-minute high-sticking penalty for clipping George Parros, but the extended advantage was cut short by a hooking call on Bobby Ryan.
McDonald scored his second goal, whisking in a wrist shot from the right circle off a feed from Boyes, 23 seconds into the third.
NOTES: The Chicago Blackhawks claimed C Andrew Ebett off waivers from Anaheim. … RW Cam Janssen went into the St. Louis lineup, replacing C Alex Steen who will be out 6-to-8 weeks because of a broken right wrist.