Last year, the Ducks began the season 1-7-2. You may remember it.
This year, things are slightly better under new head coach Randy Carlyle, though not by much. Anaheim is 4-5-2, but displaying a penchant for following up quality wins with disheartening losses.
And it’s driving Carlyle nuts.
“That’s what we just banged our heads against the wall over,” he said following a 5-1 loss at home to Pittsburgh on Wednesday, per the L.A. Times. “Why, why, why? The answer to that isn’t at the tip of my tongue.
“I wish I had that answer for you. I’m sure they don’t feel very good about themselves.”
The Pittsburgh blowout came just one night after an emphatic 4-0 victory in the Freeway Faceoff against the Kings — in Los Angeles, no less. But whatever momentum the Ducks gained failed to translate over to Wednesday, as Carlyle said his team was “a step-and-a-half behind” the Pens.
It’s a recurring issue.
On Oct. 23, the Ducks won their home opener against the Canucks. That was followed up with a tough loss in San Jose — 2-1 in OT, so no shame there — which was followed by a really solid effort in a 6-1 thrashing of Nashville.
But after the Nashville game, Anaheim had a night to forget, losing 4-0 to the Blue Jackets at home.
There are extenuating circumstances at play, of course. Injuries have hit the likes of Ryan Getzlaf, Nick Ritchie and Jonathan Bernier, and Rickard Rakell only rejoined the team two games ago. Prized d-man Hampus Lindholm has still yet to suit up, though his return is coming soon.
Players have come and gone, too. Mayson Raymond. Emerson Etem. Jacob Larsson. Shea Theodore. All of which has played a big role in the club’s lack of consistency.
“It’s just a team still trying to find our identity a little bit,” Cam Fowler told the Times. “Trying to plug some different guys in, and see what kind of chemistry we can find.”
Of course, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
After surviving an October in which they played six of nine on the road, the Ducks will spent considerable time at Honda in the coming weeks. The end of November will be especially key, as they play six of seven at home against the Oilers, Devils, Kings, Islanders, ‘Hawks and Canadiens.