By Michael Walters
The Anaheim Ducks started their road trip in Buffalo looking to find traction and gain ground in the Pacific Division after being off for a week. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen as Anaheim was shut out by Buffalo 3-0.
The Ducks started the game well getting shots on net and playing a good tempo from the start. The Ducks did have to play a majority of the period without Josh Manson, who was hit in the face with a puck. He went to the locker room to get stitches and returned to start the second period. There was no scoring in the period, but the Ducks received a power play when Johan Larsson was called for cross-checking with 11 seconds left in the period. Shots favored Anaheim 14 to 8.
The Ducks started the period on the power play, but couldn’t convert. Buffalo would score shortly after when Jack Eichel would take a point shot that would deflect off Evander Kane‘s skate and past John Gibson. Later in the period, Jake McCabe would make it 2-0 when his shot squeezed between the goal post and Gibson’s skate. Again the Ducks received a power play late in the period when Johan Larsson was called for delay of game when he shot the puck over the glass from the Buffalo defensive zone. Shots favored Anaheim 11 to 8.
The Ducks fail to convert on the power play again to start the third period. Anaheim did pick up the pace registering 19 shots in the period. Despite getting better chances in this period, the Ducks couldn’t get a puck past Chad Johnson. Jamie McGinn would get a goal to extend Buffalo’s lead to 3-0. The Ducks did pull Gibson for most of the final three minutes to no avail. The Ducks go on to lose 3-0.
Play Of The Game
Already with a 1-0 lead, McCabe made it 2-0 on a shot that snuck by Gibson’s right leg pad. It’s a goal that Gibson probably could have stopped and the Ducks couldn’t recover from the two goal deficit.
Stat Of The Game
44 Shots. The Ducks put up a season high for shots, but couldn’t score. Most of the opportunities were not quality opportunities in the first two periods. In the third period, the Ducks started to get some good opportunities, but it was too little too late.
65:51: That’s how long it’s been since the Ducks have scored a goal. In the last 120 minutes, Anaheim only has one goal.
44 Shots: The Ducks set a team high with 44 shots this season in last night’s game. The previous mark was 41 shots against Florida on November 19th.
7 Shutouts: Night’s loss was the 7th time they been shut out this season. The Ducks were shut out just three times last season.
6 Points: Anaheim now finds themselves six points back of the second place Sharks. They are five points behind third place Calgary, which is likely the final playoff spot in the Pacific Division.
Analysis: Repeat Script
You have seen this script before. The Ducks play decent in the first period and come out of it tied. The dreaded second period occurs, this time the Ducks get down 2-0. Then in the third period the Ducks turn it on, but it’s not enough. Good passes, quality scoring chances, and overall drive have all been inconsistent on this team. Anaheim needs to change the script(and some of the team personnel) or they are going to find themselves watching the playoffs at home come April.
Something needs to be done with this team. There are plenty of players that are underachieving on this team. It’s unclear how long Bob Murray is going to be patient with the team’s current state. Gibson provided some spark for a few games, but the Ducks have regressed again in the past couple of games. Murray already tried to shop around Frederik Andersen and Anton Khudobin, but no trade moves were made. Murray might try to entertain offers for other players, but he might not be able to get a high enough return based on most of the team’s performance and individual long term contracts.
Anaheim travels to New Jersey to face the Devils Saturday December 19th at 4PM PST.
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