There is nothing to suggest that it will happen right now, or even at any point this season for the Anaheim Ducks, but this is definitely the type of game and the type of situation that could get a coach fired.
At the very least, it is the type of situation that could result in some kind of a significant change somewhere in the organization, whether it be on the ice or behind the bench.
The situation is a now 10-game losing streak that was extended on Friday night with a 7-4 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins that featured an absolutely unbelievable meltdown over the final two periods.
That is also probably understating just how bad it was, and it resulted in coach Randy Carlyle getting asked if he is worried about his job security. According to Mike Coppinger of the Los Angeles Times, Caryle responded by calling it a “dumb question” and abruptly ending his press conference.
That is where things sit for the Ducks right now.
After 20 minutes on Friday everything seemed to be going Anaheim’s way as the Ducks took advantage of a couple of fortunate bounces and jumped out to an early 3-0 lead. They looked to be in control of the game, starting goalie John Gibson was making incredible saves in net, and it finally looked like the losing streak was going to end.
That turned out to be the highpoint of the night as things completely unraveled after that with the Penguins scoring seven goals the rest of the way.
It was not just that the Ducks were outscored by a 7-1 margin over the final two periods that made it bad. It was the fact they were completely and totally dominated in every phase of the game. It was like the two teams were playing entirely different sports, and the Ducks’ version was barely of an NHL quality.
That is the problem for the Ducks, and has been the problem for them all season.
Their overall record has been solid enough to keep them in the playoff race.
The results have been adequate.
The process behind the results has not been close to good enough, and there is no evidence to suggest that the Ducks have played as well as even their mediocre record might indicate or that things are going to get drastically better. The entire thing is driven by goaltending, and unless Gibson or Ryan Miller stand on their head they have almost zero chance to win on any given night.
You can cite injuries.
You can point to the fact the core is getting older and may not be as good as it once was. All of that is true.
What is also true is that the way this Ducks team has played is the same way just about every Randy Carlyle coached team has played over the past decade. They get dominated territorially, spend way too much time defending in their own zone, and will only go as far as their goaltending can take them.
This season the Ducks are the fourth-worst team in the league when it comes to 5-on-5 shot attempt differential. The only team in the league that gives up more total shot attempts and shots on goal is the Ottawa Senators, a rebuilding team that is going into tank-mode and is in the process of stripping its roster down to the bare bones.
It’s a testament to just how bad this team has been when you consider they have sixth-best team save percentage in the NHL and have only won 19 out of their first 45 games.
When you are that dependent on goaltending eventually the luck runs out. The Ducks seem to be at that point this season.
Now they have to head out on a five-game road trip that opens up on Sunday in Winnipeg against one of the NHL’s best teams. Things are looking bleak right now and there does not seem to be much optimism on the horizon.