As the season starts to wind down, inconsistency plagues the Anaheim Ducks. Coming off of two consecutive shutout wins and a four-game win streak, the Ducks fell to the Arizona Coyotes. After an amazing combined performance of Ryan Miller and John Gibson against Vegas, followed by an amazing performance from the penalty killers against the Dallas Stars, the Ducks dropped the ball against the last-place Arizona Coyotes.
Inconsistent Play Plagues the Anaheim Ducks
The inconsistent play the Ducks have right now can no longer be blamed on the injuries. All the major components are playing, with the exception of John Gibson and Patrick Eaves. You never know who you will get from one night to the next. Some nights they come out and look like the team that was two games away from a Stanley Cup Final berth. Some nights you get a team that looks like they have never played together.
Vegas Golden Knights
The Vegas Golden Knights have been destroying all expectations this season. They have broken the record for most wins by an expansion team in their inaugural season already and seem poised to make a big push into the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They also have had the Ducks number all season. As a result the first three meetings between the two teams this season, the Knights won all three.
The fourth, however, was all Anaheim. Jakob Silfverberg scored midway through the first and John Gibson stopped everything that was thrown at him through the first two periods, but did not return for the third due to a late trip in the second. Ryan Miller stepped into the crease and delivered an amazing third period stopping all 20 shots he faced giving the Ducks their first combined shutout since 2001. Josh Manson put up an insurance goal late in the third to hold off the Knights.
— Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) February 20, 2018
Going into a game against the Stars, the Ducks were sure to be apprehensive. Going for a season-high four game win streak against Ben Bishop. Hampus Lindholm netted his ninth goal of the season midway through the first. Ryan Miller held the Stars at bay stopping everything he faced. The real story was the penalty killing the Ducks had to face. In the early goings of the third period, Cam Fowler took a slashing penalty leaving the Ducks shorthanded. Just over a minute into the penalt kill captain, Ryan Getzlaf threw the puck out of play, earning a delay of game penalty and leaving the Ducks to kill off 42 seconds of five-on-three play.
As if the situation wasn’t bad enough, only five seconds into that powerplay, Josh Manson did the unthinkable by earning a delay of game penalty of his own. Manson’s penalty timer did not start until the slashing minor to Cam Fowler ended. Amazingly the Ducks killed off the Fowler slashing minor. When they managed to kill off Ryan Getzlaf‘s penalty, he entered the game with fresh legs giving the Ducks a chance to get well needed changed. A fresh Ryan Getzlaf pushed the issue short handedly storming into the Stars zone almost all alone.
“Big” Ben Bishop Left his crease in an attempt to play the puck away from Getzlaf and in doing so, Getzlaf managed to get the puck past Bishop and then netted a beautiful empty-net shot to put the final nail in the coffin for the Stars.
— Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) February 22, 2018
Going into this game riding a high of earning the longest winning streak of the season, the Ducks didn’t put much on a game against the last-place Coyotes. That was a mistake. The Coyotes had nothing to lose in this game, so they left everything on the ice. An odd goal early in the first broke the Ducks 151-minute shutout streak and it only got worse from there.
The team wasn’t making crisp passes, they were shooting the majority of the shots from beyond the top of the circles, and the power play was not performing. They spent too much time passing the puck, looking for the perfect shot instead of throwing the puck on net and looking for rebounds. The game ended with Max Domi netting his fifth goal of the season on an empty net.
Inconsistency of the team
The Ducks went from the type of play that you hope for all season to looking like amateurs. They needed those two points to go back into a playoff spot. By losing their last game, the Calgary Flames kept the third and final slot in the Pacific Division. The Ducks need to put some points together if they want a chance of making it into the playoffs. The Ducks are back in action on Sunday evening, this time against the Edmonton Oilers. Hopefully the Ducks can snap back into a sharp team and earn the two points they desperately need.
Main Image Credit: