3 Takeaways From Ducks’ Loss to Kraken

The Anaheim Ducks concluded their season series with the Seattle Kraken last night with a 4-1 loss at Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle. The Ducks took two of a possible eight points this season from the matchup and fell to 3-4-0 all-time against the NHL’s newest franchise. As of late, they have failed to grasp the opportunity to disrupt the playoff positioning of their opposition. Included in some of their latest defeats are playoff locks or hopefuls Colorado Avalanche, Winnipeg Jets, Calgary Flames, New York Islanders, and these Kraken.

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Last night, they were without Trevor Zegras, Troy Terry, and Adam Henrique. When you’re down your top offensive players, your team doesn’t have much of a chance. With the Ducks merely counting down the days until the final whistle on their struggling season, let’s look at some takeaways from the game.

Beniers Shines in Latest Matchup with McTavish

Matty Beniers and Mason McTavish are two of the top performers in this year’s rookie class, and it’s likely one of them will take home the Calder Trophy for Rookie of the Year. Drafted second and third overall in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, respectively, each has highlighted their skill and proven why they were taken as high as they were. Beniers is smooth, fast, and has great hands; McTavish is skilled, big-bodied, with a heavy shot. Both figure to be centerpieces of franchises with big playoff aspirations for the rest of the decade, and beyond.

Mason McTavish Anaheim Ducks
Mason McTavish, Anaheim Ducks (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

It was Beniers though who had the better game last night. He scored his 21st goal of the season, and it was a beauty. Receiving the puck in front of the net, he displayed patience and soft hands in tight to walk around Lukáš Dostál and bring the puck back to his forehand to tuck it in. He also contributed an assist. McTavish was largely shut out, registering one hit, and one shot on goal, and was a minus-1. Beniers is four goals and eight points clear of McTavish in the rookie scoring race with seven games to play.

Positive: Dostál Impresses Despite the Loss

The Ducks are slated to face some steep opposition to close out the season. Teams at the top of the Western Conference, teams battling for playoff positioning, etc. It began with a game against the Avalanche last week, continued with the Kraken last night, and will continue over their last batch of games. The point is, these are tough situations to put your young goaltending prospect in.

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All things considered, Dostál answered the bell and put in a nice performance despite the loss. He did his job. He faced 39 shots and stopped 36, while the Ducks only produced 19. He stayed composed and kept the game close in several situations, most importantly on a shorthanded breakaway in the second period, where he turned away Brandon Tanev. The save kept the score at 2-0 and made it a much more manageable game when the Ducks finally got on the board later in the period.

Negative: Ducks Can’t Capitalize on Momentum Swings

In a refreshing sight, the Ducks jumped all over Seattle in the first six minutes of the game. They produced shots, forechecked hard, and drew a penalty. Unfortunately, they couldn’t capitalize. Similarly, they started the third period well after producing a late second-period goal. The Ryan Strome-Max Comtois-Frank Vatrano line, which also created chances early in the game, produced a grade-A scoring chance. No goals came of it though, and the Kraken capitalized on their power play to go up 3-1 late in the period which effectively ended the game.

The Road to the Finish Doesn’t Get Any Easier

It’ll be a slow and potentially tortuous ending to the season for the Ducks, as they are likely to struggle against numerous opponents left on their schedule. To make matters worse, Zegras and Henrique aren’t healthy, and Terry will only be available for home games. The Edmonton Oilers are next, and you best believe they will be bringing everything they have to this matchup. They are in a battle for home-ice advantage against their likely first-round opponent Los Angeles Kings. Let’s see how the Ducks handle Connor McDavid, Leon Draisatl, and company on Saturday night.

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