Ducks show improved effort but continue firing blanks

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Coming into this season, many expected the Anaheim Ducks to be one of the elite teams in the NHL. Some even thought they’d be favorites to land the Stanley Cup.

Not only have they not looked like Cup contenders so far, but they don’t even look like a playoff team.

The season is just four games old, so Anaheim has plenty of time to turn things around, but what they’ve shown on the ice in their first four contests is concerning.

The Ducks have beaten an opposing goaltender just once in 245 minutes of action so far this year.

Their only goal came off the stick of defenseman Sami Vatanen in last Monday’s 2-1 shootout loss to the Canucks.

That’s right, a defenseman!

Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and the rest of the Ducks forwards have been blanked.

Anaheim’s core players have faced playoff adversity in the past, but regular season success has seemingly come easy. That could be a reason why they’re having such a hard time responding to a slow start.

Forward Corey Perry echoed those sentiments after Friday’s 3-0 loss to Colorado.

“It’s something we really haven’t gone through, at least since I’ve been here,” he said. “It’s tough. We did a lot of good things, but it’s those second opportunities. You have to give credit to them. They blocked a lot of shots.”

It’s not like the schedule makers have been unkind to them either. Three of their first four contests were played at the Honda Center, and they have yet to play in back-to-back games. Not to mention that three of their opponents (San Jose, Arizona and Colorado) missed the playoffs last year.

The effort may have been better on Friday night, but that’s still not enough to pull any positives from the loss.

“I think from beginning to end, there was no quit,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. “Obviously, it’s pretty disappointing for everybody. The fans, the players. There’s nobody in this organization that’s happy right now.

Anaheim’s scoreless streak now sits at 163 minutes and four seconds.

Sunday’s game against Minnesota will be crucial because it’s their final home game of the month. The Ducks will embark on a long road trip that will see them travel to Nashville, Minnesota, Chicago, Dallas and St. Louis.