The Veterans Sink the Anaheim Ducks in Preseason Game Two

GLENDALE, ARIZONA - SEPTEMBER 21: Goalie Kevin Boyle #40 of the Anaheim Ducks makes a save on the shot by Christian Dvorak #18 of the Arizona Coyotes as Derek Grant #38 of the Ducks defends during the third period of an NHL preseason game at Gila River Arena on September 21, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images)
GLENDALE, ARIZONA - SEPTEMBER 21: Goalie Kevin Boyle #40 of the Anaheim Ducks makes a save on the shot by Christian Dvorak #18 of the Arizona Coyotes as Derek Grant #38 of the Ducks defends during the third period of an NHL preseason game at Gila River Arena on September 21, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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GLENDALE, ARIZONA – SEPTEMBER 21: Goalie Kevin Boyle #40 of the Anaheim Ducks makes a save on the shot by Christian Dvorak #18 of the Arizona Coyotes as Derek Grant #38 of the Ducks defends during the third period of an NHL preseason game at Gila River Arena on September 21, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images) /

After a thrilling overtime victory in preseason game one against the Sharks, the Anaheim Ducks moved on to Glendale to face the Arizona Coyotes. The game was a heart breaker and an ever worrying sign that the more experienced skaters of the team are long past their useful stages.

From the time that the Anaheim Ducks stepped on to the ice to the eventual miserable skate off the ice, things didn’t seem too peachy for the team. The Ducks struggled against the Coyotes last season and finished with a 2-1-2 record after their five matchups, so it wasn’t a guaranteed cakewalk game like most Arizona matchups were just a few seasons ago. The Ducks elected to play eleven skaters out eighteen with earlier significant NHL time, and that’s the scariest part of any statistic from this game.

Off to a Better Start?

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The Anaheim Ducks started off pretty early taking penalties, and it wouldn’t get better as the night went on. They got some shots off on Arizona’s net during the penalty kill, which was a major improvement from the first game. For the rest of the first period however, the lack of offense yet again was the main problem the Ducks faced. There were almost no decent chances, and their lack of goal scoring capabilities is much less forgivable than the last game considering that this roster was mostly NHL skaters with previous experience.

Besides the lack of offense, the Anaheim Ducks also contracted in defense quite a lot. Thankfully, starting goalie John Gibson stood tall as always, but having Gibson carry the team all the time is still a massive problem that needs solving.

Cam Fowler, Korbinian Holzer, and Michael Del Zotto were the three headliners on defense, and they all surprisingly got points early on for their three assists. The rest however weren’t looking so hot. The defense took three of the six penalties that got called against Anaheim, and all but one of those players had no points and almost no impact on the ice.

Things Get Worse Before They Get Better

After a goal given up in the first period by a defensive breakdown that let up a rush up ice, the second period started with the Anaheim Ducks being behind once again. Even worse, the Ducks were taking penalties left and right. Their strongest core on the team came through however, proving that this penalty kill line is for real. Yet another five on three that didn’t see the Ducks let their goalie face a single shot on goal, and the game was still within reach.

Jakob Silfverberg would be the unlikely hero to tie the game up off a bad rebound given up by Arizona goalie Darcy Kuemper. Before that, the Ducks couldn’t buy a goal because Kuemper was really playing like he had something to prove, and he was just better than the team on the ice. He would get back to those ways for the rest of the period though, which hurt the Ducks even more after the Coyotes took the lead back on a power play goal just two minutes later.

Charging Towards a Tie

Clayton Keller seemed to put the game away three minutes into the third after making the score 3-1, but miraculously, the Anaheim Ducks made the comeback. Two goals by Nick Ritchie and Chase De Leo towards the end of the period tied things up, and the outlook wasn’t so bleak for the Ducks. Their newly placed goalie in Kevin Boyle was making even more remarkable saves than John Gibson, and he kept the game alive longer than he should have been able to.

After a passionate Ducks surge that saw the game tied at 3-3, overtime looked to lean in favor of Anaheim. It wasn’t that way at all though, and Boyle had to make three breakaway saves to carry his team into a shootout. After a thirty-second power play by the Ducks, a shootout was exactly where they were heading.

A Shootout to Forget and Final Thoughts

The shootout was very short, and Boyle could only make one save before letting in two goals that gave Arizona the S/O win. But, it wasn’t exactly Boyle’s fault despite that fact. Rickard Rakell and Silfverberg both took their attempts, and both didn’t even come close much like the rest of the team that night. Veteran pick-ups like Carter Rowney, Andreas Martinsen, and Patrick Sieloff were all burdens on the ice. None of them had points to their names, let alone any significant plays throughout the game.

Other experienced skaters that did end up scoring like Ryan Getzlaf and Sam Carrick didn’t exactly pitch in much more than the others. They had the points, but that doesn’t fix their bumbling around the ice the rest of the time. It’s a pretty worrying sign when the rookies and the younger guys are making better impressions than the veterans despite their lack of points.

In closing, the veterans and NHL experienced players that were responsible for shaking off the offseason rust and playing their best to aid the rookies flopped hard, and their lack of offense on top of a lazy defense and taking too many penalties costed the Anaheim Ducks this game against the Coyotes. The supreme hope is that the veterans were not trying because of the fact that it’s preseason, because if the case is anything else, the Ducks could be in a lot of trouble this season.

Next. How Do The Anaheim Ducks Fix Their Shortage of Right Handed Defensemen?. dark

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