The first game of Freeway Playoff Series came and went yesterday between the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings. It lived up to all the expectations that this series has been anticipated to have.
The Honda Center crowd was loud as it had ever been last night with less than a minute to go in the game. The Ducks were leading 2-1 looking to take a 1-0 lead in the series. Then the unexpected happened as the Kings Marian Gaborik tied the game with seven seconds left.
The teams headed into overtime where the Ducks carried most of the play. The Ducks had Jonathan Quick down and out on a several occasions in the overtime, but just couldn’t get one past him. Then the Kings had a rush where Anze Kopitar shot the puck wide and Gaborik tipped the shot off the post and Jonas Hiller‘s back into the net. Kings win.
Teemu Selanne was seven seconds away from being the hero in Game 1.
It was an extremely disappointing loss to say the least, but my message is to stay positive. That was only Game 1. The Ducks carried the play during the 5-on-5 situations. They hit the post or crossbar at least three different times in that game. The Ducks could have easily been up 3-1 or 4-1 toward the end of the third period.
In the overtime the Ducks could have ended the game on several chances. Some close misses and help by the Kings defenseman stopped the Ducks from getting the game winning goal.
In looking back at the last two goals by the Kings there was some puck luck involved. The game tying goal by Gaborik was deflected and the puck bounced under Hiller and in. The game winning goal by Gaborik bounced off the post and off Hiller’s back into the net. Again another fortunate bounce.
The Ducks loss was certainly not due to lack of effort on their part. The main area the Ducks need to improve on is the power play. They went 0 for 4 in Game 1 and had difficulty sustaining good pressure during the man advantages.
The Ducks were able to get Quick out of his comfort zone in Game 1 many times during 5-on-5 play. The Ducks first goal in the game was a result of Quick chasing the puck behind the net and getting well out of position. The Ducks were able to get Quick down and out especially in overtime, but just couldn’t finish the game. The Ducks need to continue sustaining the forecheck and good results will happen.
It took the Kings several bounces to win Game 1. They can’t rely on puck luck if they want to beat the Ducks in this series. I am still positive and like the Ducks chances in this series despite losing game one.
It was definitely a difficult loss to take, but great teams overcome adversity and the Ducks are a great team.
Game 2 is Monday at 7 p.m. at Honda Center.
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