What has become a familiar story for the Anaheim Ducks this season continued on Tuesday night as they once again blew a multi-goal lead and ended up losing a game which they should have won.
Defense Is Optional, Living Right by the Pipe
It appeared as if both teams disregarded the need to play defense as six goals were on the board prior to the conclusion of the first period. The Ducks’ blue line has been by no means a strength of theirs this season, especially given the injuries to Hampus Lindholm and Josh Manson. This has led to extended ice time for players like Jacob Larsson and Ben Hutton, who look closer to seventh defensemen than players who should be in the lineup every night.
The Avalanche also have blue line injuries of their own. Two of their most dynamic players in Bowen Byram and Cale Makar have been on injured reserve for a couple of weeks now and that has significantly downgraded the offensive upside of the Avalanche defense. Even with how depleted the Avalanche blue line is, they still managed to contribute offensively via Sam Girard and Devon Toews.
Even with how high-scoring of an affair the game was, the Ducks were fortunate to not concede more goals than they did. The Avalanche hit the post on four separate occasions and potentially could have put up 10 or more goals on the Ducks. They almost did so even without the posts as the Ducks gave a lackluster effort and it was clear to see by the time the eighth goal for the Avs went up on the board – the most the Ducks have given up in a game this season.
Troy Terry didn’t put up any points in his first two games this season against the Avalanche at Honda Center, but he has enjoyed playing against the Avalanche at Ball Arena. Terry grew up in nearby Highlands Ranch and played his college hockey at Denver University, so he is quite familiar with the area. The 23-year-old scored two goals in the Ducks’ last outing against the Avalanche prior to last night’s game and then added a goal and an assist in the 8-4 loss.
It’s been difficult for Terry to find consistency since his NHL career began as he had an opportunity to be a leader in the Calder Cup Playoffs last season cut short due to COVID-19 (from, ‘Ducks GM Bob Murray bluntly says no excuses next season’, The Orange County Register, 06/03/20). He’s also been a healthy scratch several times this season but the Highlands Ranch native has looked more comfortable every time he’s returned to the lineup and his goal on Tuesday night marked a career-high for goals in a season with five. The winger recently eclipsed 100 games played in the NHL and looks to be finally settling into an everyday role.
Outshot by the Opposition
The Ducks are never one to be the aggressor when it comes to taking shots on goal. They’ve been outshot in 7 of their last 10 games. Unsurprisingly, they’ve won just two games during that span and both came in overtime after blowing multi-goal leads. An ever-present issue that the Ducks have is that there aren’t enough players on the roster with a shoot-first mentality. Head coach Dallas Eakins has previously lamented the team’s tendency to overpass the puck instead of just getting shots on net.
Two of Anaheim’s most dynamic offensive options – Ryan Getzlaf and Trevor Zegras – are excellent passers, and both are players that should probably shoot the puck more as well. Zegras has been doing that more but appears to be snakebitten, as he put a good chance against the St. Louis Blues a couple of weeks ago off the side of the net and then hit the post in last night’s game. Getzlaf has always been a willing passer but also possesses a wicked shot that he seems hesitant to use the further into his career that he gets.
Dueling With the Desert Dogs
The Ducks will return home with their tails between their legs to face off against the Arizona Coyotes. The Ducks for some reason cannot give 60-minute efforts on a consistent basis. This is something that Eakins has stressed lately, giving a full-game effort. When leading, they seem almost content to let the opposition pour on the pressure and when they trail, their attempts to get back into the game seem almost non-existent at times.
Goaltender John Gibson was ruled out with a lower-body injury for Tuesday night’s game and his status for their series against the Arizona Coyotes, which begins on Thursday, is unknown. If he is unable to go, Ryan Miller or Anthony Stolarz will likely be in net. The Ducks need to do a much better job of helping out their goaltender than they did against the Avalanche.
Both the Ducks and Coyotes will be coming into this series on four-game losing streaks, so it will be a nice change of tempo for whoever is able to secure the win on Thursday.
I’ve been a fan of the Anaheim Ducks since 2013 and have enjoyed watching and learning more about the sport of hockey ever since.
I recently graduated from UCCS in Colorado Springs, CO with a bachelor’s degree in Sports Communication. Over the last several years, I have been employed as a sports journalist and now am working from home in Southern California.