The Anaheim Ducks made waves early this season as they closed out the opening month of October with a 5-4-0 record. This record included a road win at TD Garden, which served as the first loss of the season for the Boston Bruins. This trend continued into the beginning of November as the Ducks defeated the reigning Stanley Cup champions at Honda Center, which was Vegas’s first regulation loss of the season. Additionally, for the first time in ten years, the Ducks concluded their first road trip with a four-game sweep. As Anaheim’s momentum continued, they found themselves on a six-game win streak and set an NHL record for comeback wins. However, as November comes to a close, the Ducks appear to have lost this unexpected momentum. With the loss against the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night, Anaheim is now in the midst of a seven-game losing streak. What is the cause of this drastic halt in success for the Ducks?
The Ducks’ struggle to produce offensively continues as Trevor Zegras remains on the injured reserve with little information as to the timeline of his recovery. Zegras has an undeniable impact in the offensive zone. He consistently makes intelligent plays and creates scoring chances for his linemates. Immediately after Zegras penned his three-year extension contract in October, head coach Greg Cronin emphasized the clubs’ focus on developing Zegras’ skills in the defensive zone. Fans are eager to see Zegras back on the ice, where he can lend his skill and contribute to the team’s point production.
While the Ducks struggle to produce offensively as they play without Zegras on their top line, they are also lacking production from healthy goal scorers as well. Most notably, Troy Terry has been off to a slower-than-expected start this season. Terry currently has five goals and thirteen total points but has only accumulated one point in his last five games. Without Zegras on the first line, Terry is commonly paired with Leo Carlsson or Mason McTavish. However, both McTavish and Carlsson have surpassed Terry in goals so far this season. Terry appears to be more reserved and hesitant on the ice than Anaheim is accustomed to. With Zegras out indefinitely and Carlsson on a limited game schedule, it is necessary that Terry regains his confidence and takes advantage of his scoring chances.
Aside from their goal-scoring slump, Anaheim has appeared a bit sluggish overall. The Ducks have made an unfortunate habit of falling behind early in the first period, often trailing by two or three points as the first twenty minutes expire. A common theme during intermission and post-game interviews is that the team needs to find a way to round out their game and play their full sixty minutes. Although it is exhilarating to watch a team come back from a two or three-goal deficit, it is not a sustainable style of play. As the Ducks continue to navigate their rebuild, they must utilize and develop the pieces of the puzzle that they currently obtain. The Ducks have a promising future with talented rookies, a general manager who is dedicated to bulking the teams’ defense, and wildly talented and creative goal scorers. If they can strengthen their first-period play, minimize their penalty minutes, and capitalize on their scoring chances, they will certainly regain their momentum.