Ducks: 3 Takeaways From the 5-2 Loss Against the Avalanche

Another trip to Colorado and another big loss for the Anaheim Ducks. They’ve been outscored 13-6 over their last to trips to Denver and the gulf in class was evident in a humbling 5-2 loss to one of the National Hockey League’s top teams.

Troy Terry Loves Playing in Denver

Troy Terry clearly loves playing back in his home state of Colorado as the Highlands Ranch native now has four goals and five assists in six games against the Avalanche this season. He added an unassisted goal in the Ducks’ 5-2 loss last night in Denver. The month of March has been kind to Terry, who has five goals and four assists for nine points in 13 games played. The increase in production has coincided with a bump in average time on ice from just over 12 minutes a night to 15 minutes.

Terry struggled through his first 17 games of the season, managing only two goals and two assists. Terry played his college hockey at Denver University, so it’s safe to say he’s most comfortable when coming to Colorado to play against the Avalanche.

He’s finally come into his own as of late, but that didn’t come without several healthy scratches this season. If he can take these performances against the Avalanche and replicate it against a few other division opponents, it might turn out to be a breakout season for the 23-year old. If Terry is indeed available at the deadline, you’d have to think Joe Sakic would love to bring someone like Terry in who has significant ties to the area.

Outshot by a Wide Margin

Even though the sticker shock of being outshot 48-15 in last night’s loss to the Avalanche might look surprising to some, it’s an all too common trend for the Ducks this season and especially in the month of March. Anaheim has been outshot 122-63 over their last three games and ranks second in total shots against in March with 507. Their shot differential over that period of time is an abysmal minus-71. Only six teams have a worse shot differential over the regular season than Anaheim, with those teams being; the Buffalo Sabres, Arizona Coyotes, Chicago Blackhawks, Vancouver Canucks, and Detroit Red Wings.

At one point in last night’s game, the Ducks were being outshot 33-9 and were outshot 22-2 during the second period. It’s a problem that has plagued the team over the last few seasons and one that stems from a lack of quality finishers on the roster. It’s a problem that Dallas Eakins knows exists and one that he has previously criticized citing, the team’s lack of a shoot-first mentality and the propensity to make the extra pass instead of getting the puck on net. Ryan Miller was one major bright spot for the team in a humbling loss to one of the league’s best teams. Despite allowing five goals, he made 43 saves and several key stops to keep the game within reach.

Managing Trevor Zegras’ Playing Time

The major talking point pre-game wasn’t focused on who was in the lineup rather on who was left out of it. Trevor Zegras was scratched for a second straight game, and it sparked outrage and confusion among the fanbase. The explanation given by the team’s broadcast crew was that the front office is managing his game-time to avoid an accrued season which would result in him being eligible for unrestricted free agent (UFA) status a year earlier. It’s a valid point, but one that begs the question; why not play him in San Diego for the time being instead of placing him on the taxi squad?

Trevor Zegras Anaheim Ducks
Trevor Zegras, Anaheim Ducks (Photo by Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images)

We will likely never get the answer we want, but with only 20 games remaining this season, we will start to get a clearer picture on if this is the route the Ducks are taking with Zegras. An accrued season has been reduced from 40-games to 27-games for the shortened season and will only account for his total if he is listed on the 23-man roster.

He currently has 15-games allotted to the total, which would mean he would only feature in 11 of the Ducks’ 20 remaining games to not count as an accrued season. It’s another questionable decision in a long line of questionable decisions when it comes to the Ducks’ handling of their top prospect this season, and only time will tell if this is the direction they are planning to take with the young American forward for the remainder of the 2020-21 season.

Ducks End the Week Against Arizona

The Ducks return home to end the week with a two-game stint against the Arizona Coyotes. The Coyotes are on a roll, winning their last three games after snapping a streak where they lost six of their last seven games. Anaheim has a 2-3-1 record against the Desert Dogs this season, and it always makes for a difficult matchup when the Coyotes come to town.

Jordan Oesterle Arizona Coyotes
Jordan Oesterle, Arizona Coyotes (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Rickard Rakell missed Monday night’s game against the Avalanche, and it will be interesting to see if he’s available for Friday’s game against the Coyotes. He’s currently listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury. Goaltender John Gibson is also listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury, so his availability for Friday is also unknown. If he’s not able to suit up, then the Ducks will likely go with either Ryan Miller or Anthony Stolarz.

The Ducks will be looking to break out of a skid where they’ve lost eight of their last 11 games, and the Coyotes could be rolling into Anaheim on a four-game winning streak if they topple the Avalanche on Wednesday night.