The Ducks are off to one of their worst starts in franchise history, as they have just 11 points in their first 19 games, and they have yet to win a game in regulation.
The Ducks sit dead last in the NHL about a quarter into the season but to try and look on the brighter side of things, and they have been playing a better brand of hockey as of late, even though it is not showing up in the win column.
In their last five games, the Ducks have actually played some really close games that could have been won had they not let one period slip away and cost them the game.
This five-game stretch started with a heartbreaking 3-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on November 12th. The Ducks outshot the Blackhawks 41-22 and dominated play until Jarred Tinordi fired a slap shot from the blue line that bounced off of a couple of Ducks and trickled in the net to take the lead with just 2:43 left in the game.
Then the Ducks took on the Detroit Red Wings on November 15th and found their way to a 3-2 overtime win after getting outplayed in the first half of the game. John Klingberg tied it up at 2-2 with just 47 seconds remaining, and then Ryan Strome intercepted a pass in front of the Red Wings’ net and dished it to Trevor Zegras, who sent it right back to Strome to bury the game-winner.
The Ducks went up to Winnipeg on November 17th to face the Jets, where Kyle Connor continued his dominance of the Ducks. Connor netted a hat trick in a 3-2 Jets victory where the Ducks lost control of the game in the third period. The second and third goals that Connor scored showed the Ducks major flaws. Poor positioning and growing pains.
Connor’s second goal had all five Ducks players in the same area that somehow still let Connor receive a centering pass to a wide-open shot in the middle of all of them and beat Gibson blocker side. To complete the hat trick with just 54 seconds left, the Jets took advantage of a couple of Zegras mistakes where he failed to clear the zone. It gets intercepted by Neal Pionk, who fires the puck toward the net, and then Mark Scheifele finds a wide-open Connor since Zegras got caught coasting instead of defending Connor, and Connor one-times it in.
Kyle Connor now has 10 goals, five assists, and 15 points in 13 games played against the Ducks in his career.
The Ducks then headed to St. Louis for two rounds against the Blues that had them dropping the first game by a score of 6-2. Ironically, the 6-2 loss to the Blues on Saturday was actually the best game they played when you look at the expected goals for each team. The Ducks had the Blues beat 3.15-2.60 in expected goals, according to moneypuck.com.
A bad first period and beginning of the second period buried the Ducks early and prevented them from getting back in the game. Once it was 4-0 Blues, the Ducks started to figure things out and started to control play, but it was far too little and far too late. The Blues only outshot the Ducks 34-32 despite the high score.
Round two of the Ducks matchup with the Blues last night had the Blues taking it 3-1 while the Ducks outshot the Blues 28-27. It looked like it was going to be an ugly game from the start when Noel Acciari scored 11 seconds into the game. For a few minutes, the Ducks looked discombobulated and could not string together a couple of passes without giving the puck away.
The Ducks were able to settle down and ended up dominating the rest of the period, where they outshot the Blues 15-8 and were ahead in expected goals by 1.20-1.06, according to moneypuck.com. But once again, the tide turned halfway through the second period, and the Blues took control of the game and did not look back.
The Ducks continue to play well for only 40 minutes of the game, and those 20 minutes where they are not, ends up being the difference every game.
The Ducks return home to Honda Center to take on the New York Rangers tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. PST.
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