The Anaheim Ducks are not playing good possession hockey lately.
How “not good” have they been?
Well, in their last nine games, based on score-adjusted five-on-five Fenwick, only the Sabres and Devils have been worse.
Which is pretty darn “not good.”
And it’s been showing in their results. The Ducks are 3-5-1 in those nine games, including last night’s 5-3 home loss to Washington, one that left coach Bruce Boudreau bemoaning his squad’s “woe is me” mood.
Now, for the record, Anaheim has been an average possession team all season, and that hasn’t stopped it from going 35-15-7 and sitting comfortably in first place in the Pacific Division. There’s no shortage of talent on the roster, especially up front with veterans Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, and Ryan Kesler.
Besides, even the best teams go through little slumps during a long season. Maybe there’s a touch of complacency in their mindset right now. It’s also worth noting that six of their last nine have been on the road.
Still, the Ducks remain a curious squad, one that, statistically speaking, doesn’t do anything particularly well…
Actually, that’s not true. The Ducks have, in fact, done something well all season, and that’s win one-goal games. Amazingly, they’re 24-0-7 in those — a record that some believe speaks to their mental fortitude, and others believe is an indicator that they’re not quite as dominant as the standings make them look.
Whichever perspective you take, it’s hard to deny this an important season for Anaheim, a franchise that’s won just two playoff series and hasn’t been past the second round since winning the Stanley Cup in 2007. Anything less than a deep run this spring will be seen as a disappointment.
While the Ducks’ record suggests they have a great chance to do just that — make a deep run — their underlying numbers continue to bring doubt into the equation.