The power play. Two words that kicked off the critical masses at the beginning of the Anaheim Ducks‘ season have turned out to be the two words that might end it, as well.
In an unfortunate twist of events, after failing to capitalize on multiple power play opportunities throughout the course of the evening, the Los Angeles Kings defeated the Ducks on Wednesday night in Game 6 of the playoff series to force Game 7 tomorrow night back at Honda Center.
Although saying any team could have changed the outcome of an entire game over one specific detail is indeed a slippery slope, Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau knew the Ducks’ inability to string together center ice passes and tough offensive movement in the Kings zone with the man advantage was indeed detrimental. Especially for a team with the best power play percentage in the playoffs thus far.
Luckily, or unluckily depending on point of view, moving into Game 7 takes all bets off the table. Regardless of which team has been stronger in the series, the victor will be the team that works hardest in 60 minutes. It might even be the team that scores that one extra power play goal.
So it’s safe to assume the Ducks might have a few chats, and even a few skating rounds on the ice, before tomorrow night to try and solve the power play woes that cost them a Game-6 clincher.
While the simple solution for viewers at home might suggest three simple words: shoot the puck, trying to throw the puck into a void of Kings defensemen in the center of the ice is guaranteed to cause more harm than good. But finding those shooting lanes faster and reacting to passes with more speed will indeed solve problems. Kings goalie Jonathan Quick is good, but he is still human, and no human can consistently stop shots he doesn’t see.
Last night, the Ducks were too slow on the power play and the team paid the price. But going into Friday’s do-or-die scenario, thankfully last night no longer matters and, given how prominent the Ducks’ power play has been in conversations about this team over the course of the year, it only seems fitting the Ducks’ entire season might actually come down to an extra man and two minutes on the clock.