Anaheim Ducks Sink to New Lows With the Sharks in Town

ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 14: Brenden Dillon #4 of the San Jose Sharks grabs Nick Ritchie #37 of the Anaheim Ducks during the third period of a game at Honda Center on November 14, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 14: Brenden Dillon #4 of the San Jose Sharks grabs Nick Ritchie #37 of the Anaheim Ducks during the third period of a game at Honda Center on November 14, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

Their 1,000th home game was the perfect opportunity to redeem themselves, but the Anaheim Ducks sunk to new lows with the Sharks in town.

What can I say about this game? It had a foreboding feeling about it before the puck was dropped. The Anaheim Ducks were limping into coming off the back of multiple losses. The Sharks coming in on a high after multiple wins. The long homestand that once offered hope now seems a little gloomy.

Rakell Bursts Onto the Scene with a Very Early Goal

A defensive zone faceoff went poorly for the Sharks, and the turnback, pass up the wall by Sharks defenseman Simek, went even worse. Jakob Silfverberg got a touch on the puck to slow it down, and Rickard Rakell streaming behind him picked the puck up and moved towards the net, setting Simek as a screen. A quick wrister and Martin jones looked very much like the sub-.900 netminder, he’s been the past two seasons.

That, however, happened to be the last of the Ducks fight in the first period. The next few minutes were completely owned by the Sharks and then quickly took advantage of the shot count, and five minutes later, they scored.

The goal itself may have been somewhat contentious, as it appeared to many that John Gibson had his pad covering the puck and that his pad was pushed into the net by Tomas Hertl. What the case may have been, head coach Dallas Eakins opened not to challenge the call, and thus, it was a good goal.

From this point onward, it may seem harsh to say, but Martin Jones isn’t a strong netminder. He’s one of those goalies that you just kind of expect to give up a bunch of goals if you show the intent to score. Yet, for all of the effort the Ducks put in for the rest of this period, he must have felt like he was being slapped with a wet piece of lettuce.

That’s not to say that the Anaheim Ducks didn’t have their chances, because they did. It was not even a question of quality, as they had quality chances. They even had the majority share (5 to 4) of high-danger chances for the period. However, the intent just wasn’t there. They fought to get out of the period alive, and they did just that. Just.

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Before moving on to the second period, it is worth mentioning that Nicolas Deslauriers dropped the glove for the second game in a row, with Dalton Prout. I mean, it wasn’t entertaining, it wasn’t for any particular reason, and it didn’t achieve anything. However, Deslauriers does now co-lead the league in fighting majors. That is notable because of how fans hated that Randy Carlyle‘s team never fought and how greatly they wanted more of it…

The Ducks Score on the Power Play

The Anaheim Ducks of the second period, as we’ve come to expect, showed far more gumption than those of the first period. They fired puck after puck high and wide, and sometimes they even shot it into the Sharks defensive players. Try as they might, of course, they struggled to get pucks on net. 16 shot attempts, 5 of them ending up blocked, and only 4 getting to the netminder. Well, at ES of course.

At this stage of the season, it would hardly be worth talking about the Anaheim Ducks special teams. Yet, once again… Surprise! Jakob Silfverberg punches home a rebound to score the 5th power-play goal of the season.

Sorry, I should clarify. The entire team, as a collective, has now scored 5 power-play goals, not just Silfverberg. Who do you think he is? David Pastrnak? It’s a notable achievement for the Ducks, and given that only 8 individual players have more power-play goals than the Ducks team, it’s a tally that is sure to loosen the reins upon the team and let them play a little more loosely. Just how loosely would come up in the third period.

Anaheim would maintain control from most of the second period. The statistical breakdown would show a pretty dominant period for them despite the lack of shots on net. Likely, this was due to the numerous power-play opportunities they drew this period, and the accumulated effect of fatigue across the Sharks players. Naturally, the Sharks did score as a counter to that momentum, yet, overall, it was a strong period for the Ducks.

And Then Came the Third…

Three for the Sharks in the third pretty much ended all hopes of an Anaheim Ducks win. First, they scored on the power play, then a short-handed goal, and then on a breakaway. The Ducks managed to screw up in every possible way, and it was just a nightmare. They even got back a bit of momentum thanks to a goal by Max Jones, but it was not enough in the end.

Truth be told, it was the exact same situation as a closing pitcher giving up the game-losing home-run in baseball. The defense just totally collapsed and the offense fell down and died. It was a bad situation for everyone. Unfortunately, the Anaheim Ducks used the third period to not only squander the game but also their over .500 record and any semblance of looking like a professional team.

This last game in the homestand meant a lot to the Anaheim Ducks, but in the end, it was all for not. They came out strong and fumbled the rest of the game as had been the custom over their last few games. The Ducks have fallen hard down to 9-9-2 and they can’t manage to win a game. They are finally playing like they should have been in the first place, and that is terribly unfortunate considering that they showed a bit of promise.

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