Last night the Anaheim Ducks kicked off their four game Eastern Conference road trip against the Buffalo Sabres. With only one game played in a ten-day span, the well rested Ducks were expected to hit the ice Thursday with fight and determination to start their climb up the Pacific Division standings.
Unfortunately, Anaheim came out looking rather stale and were shut out by Chad Johnson and the Sabres 3-0. This recent loss has got all Ducks’ fans in a panic as they come to a realization that the draft lottery may be more likely than the postseason this spring.
Here are four quick takeaways from last night’s loss in Buffalo.
Shots Do Not Always Equate to Goals
Anaheim cannot seem to put the puck in the back of the net at all but it is not due to a lack of effort. The Ducks put an impressive shot total of 44 and Sabres goaltender, Johnson, had an answer for all of them. I have always been a firm believer that if you take the shots, the goals will come. Unfortunately, this strategy is not working for the Ducks as they were shutout for the seventh time in 31 games. Not to knock on Johnson’s abilities as a goalie but Anaheim really made him look like Carey Price and Henrik Lundqvist last night.
Good Defense Only Gets You So Far
Overall the Ducks had a pretty solid game on the defensive side of the ice. Buffalo was only allowed 22 shot on goal but managed to get three of them past John Gibson. Whenever a team can limit the amount of shots to a number in the range of what the Ducks were able to last night, the likelihood of coming away with a win surely increases. Of course this claim can only be true if that same team demonstrates the ability to score. Unfortunately, that ability has not been apart of the Ducks’ game all season long. At the end of the day it does not matter how good the Ducks defense plays, it means nothing if nobody on the team can score.
The Ducks Just Aren’t That Good
In the past two games, Anaheim has lost rather handedly to two franchises experiencing a rebuild (Buffalo & Carolina). Since the beginning of the season everyone, including myself, has been claiming that there is no way this Ducks team is really that bad. Well I think it’s time we start referring to this group of players as a bad hockey team. Yes, on paper Anaheim has a roster much better than what their record say but that is not showing on the ice. The Ducks are currently in last place and there are no signs suggesting that they will be able to get themselves out of that position.
It’s Time to Make a Change
It is very clear that the current makeup of this Ducks team just is not working. Mathematically there is still time for this sinking ship to be repaired but GM Bob Murray needs to make some moves in order for this to happen. I am a firm believer that firing Bruce Boudreau would do nothing to fix the current state of the team. Relieving him as bench boss in the middle of the season would do nothing but make him the scapegoat.
Changes need to be made to the Ducks’ roster. Quite frankly they need players that can score goals. Waiting around for the likes of Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan Kesler to finally catch fire just is not a reasonable solution at this point. Anaheim needs to start winning now and they only way that starts happening is if Murray can acquire talent that can produce immediately.
The Anaheim Ducks will now head to New Jersey to take on the Devils on Saturday. The Devils currently sit in fourth place in the Metropolitan division and hold the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.
John Gove is an elementary school educator who writes about hockey in his spare team. Over the past five years, John has covered the game at various levels. Now, he exclusively focuses his coverage on prospects and the developmental leagues.