Anaheim Ducks Will Be Fine Despite Rough Start

The Anaheim Ducks have gotten off to a rough start. They have been outscored 7-1 through the first three games of the 2015-2016 season. Losses to San Jose, Vancouver and Arizona have sparked some concern, especially with all three of those losses coming against Pacific division teams.

The first two losses to San Jose and Vancouver were tough pills to swallow because the Ducks did not play terribly.

The Ducks ran into hot goaltending in the opener as Sharks goalie Martin Jones shut them out. Game two was one of those nights where a lucky bounce gave Vancouver a chance to win in a shootout despite the Ducks probably deserving two points as they dictated play for the majority of that game.

Through those first two games, the consensus was that the Ducks offense was a bit ‘snake-bitten’, they didn’t get the lucky bounces that could have sparked production.

Last night was a different story however.

Arizona came out with a ton of energy, scoring twice before the 10 minute mark of the first period. The Ducks looked to be shocked by what was happening and it threw them off of their game. So much that Cam Fowler dropped the gloves at one point.

Yes, you read that right, Cameron Fowler dropped the gloves in an effort to protect Sami Vatanen who took a high hit to the head.

There was no flow to the Ducks offense and the power play continued it’s struggles. Un-like the first two games, offensive rhythm was not established last night.

The Ducks were not tenacious on the forecheck and they were not playing within their identity and they let two Coyote rookies completely dominate them.

However, the Ducks are not in trouble and should not panic.

This is not the NFL, three losses in October do not define a season. Three losses at any point in the NHL season do not often define a team’s fate.

There is no need to push the panic button yet and ‘booing’ the team off the ice isn’t called for just three games into the 82 game regular season.

Yes, the Ducks effort may have seemed lackadaisical last night but I guarantee most who ‘booed’ the team off the ice had not even looked at the stats.

Last night against Arizona the Ducks both out shot and out hit the Coyotes. The Ducks also had the advantage at the face off dot winning nearly 60% of the draws in the game. The offense is in a drought but statistically speaking, the Ducks did not get dominated.

Another stat you probably failed to look at is what happened after Freddie Andersen came on in relief. Freddie stopped 20 of the 21 shots he faced and looked really good once again.

The lone goal Freddie allowed was basically impossible to stop, Duclair got a shot off from the slot that was placed perfectly.

If Freddie Andersen had started that game last night, we would probably be discussing a much closer outcome.

Yes, the Ducks now have a big backup goaltending issue after Anton Khudobin’s awful performance last night, giving up 3 goals on 8 shots, but the overall takeaway from last nights game should be that the Ducks did not get entirely dominated.

Remember back in 2013-2014 when the Ducks opened the season with a 6-1 loss to Colorado? Did they continually struggle and miss the playoffs that season? No.

Remember last season’s opener when the Ducks allowed 6 goals in Pittsburgh, A pretty poor defensive performance if you ask me. Did the Ducks struggle and miss the playoffs last season? No.

12 goals allowed between those two season openers and yet people are worrying about the Ducks who have only give up 7 goals in this somewhat tough start to the 2015-2016 season.

There is a difference between a team getting off to a terrible start, and a team struggling to begin the season. The Ducks defense has looked good, their penalty killing has been nothing short of solid and Freddie Andersen has been nearly sensational.

So what is the panic about? They have gone through tough stretches before.

The Ducks faced a pair of three game losing streak’s back in ’06-’07 that resulted in 13-5 and 6-2 goal differentials. Anyone care to tell me how that season ended?

It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.

That is probably the most cliché thing I could say, but it is true. Disappointment and frustration are understandable at this point, but take a step back and look at the bigger picture.

There are positives to be taken from these three games and once the offense gets the ball rolling, you will see how much better this team is going to be throughout the rest of this season.

All it takes is for one lucky bounce to get things going, the Ducks will be just fine, it’s a long season.