The Anaheim Ducks‘ road trip was short lived, but they fly back home with a 2-0 record leaving Canada.
Saturday the Ducks scored seven goals in their triumph over the Vancouver Canucks, and in tonight’s game versus the Calgary Flames they got on the score sheet early which gave them enough breathing room to hold on to win 5-4. It’s still premature to start throwing out the words “playoff contention,” but if the Ducks keep moving along this path it’s inevitable for them to make the playoffs. Unlike last game, the game tonight showcased more problem areas for the Ducks.
A major thing that coach Bruce Boudreau needs to tweak with his squad is their penalty kill. The Ducks gave away two power play goals in Vancouver and gave up another pair tonight in Calgary. In Vancouver, the Ducks were a perfect 3 for 3 on the power play, so allowing two goals on special teams when you put up seven goals isn’t bad. Tonight the Ducks were held off the score sheet on the power play and they surrendered two on the penalty kill — in a game that they could’ve lost.
The first goal they gave up on the penalty kill was the result of Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf’s ill-attempt at clearing the puck. Alex Tanguay was there to get the shot off through a screen and put it passed Jonas Hiller in the final seconds of the 1st. The second power play goal the Ducks’ allowed was a re-direct from Curtis Glencross who parked himself at the top of the crease — Hiller had no chance.
Another thing that stood out tonight was the fact that the Ducks allowed the Flames to put traffic in front of Hiller. Besides the breakaway goal by Lee Stempniak, the other three goals were set up in front of screens or re-directed by the bodies Calgary had in front of Anaheim’s goaltender. If a goalie can’t see the puck, there’s a good chance he won’t make the save.
On a positive note, Daniel Winnik has not backed down. Continuing off of his stellar play in Vancouver, he now has four goals and five points in two games. With the addition of Winnik, I can happily say that it looks like Anaheim can roll out three lines with ease as the team is getting production from each of those lines.
I also have to mention that Anaheim — sometimes known for its sluggish starts– has started its first two games of the season with some scoring power. Tonight, the Ducks were lucky that they notched three unanswered goals early in the first period and were able to hang on to win it despite not converting on two power play attempts and giving up two on the penalty kill.
There were a couple things that went wrong tonight, but the positives outweighed the bad and it reflected on the scoreboard. Ducks now have several days off to practice and reflect before their home opener against the Canucks on Friday.
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