Sometimes, it’s tough to diagnose a struggling team’s problems. Yet after one OT loss, it should be painfully obvious to Bruce Boudreau that the top concern is penalties. The Anaheim Ducks have been one of the most penalized team in the NHL ever since the lockout ended, but the game’s final goal was a culmination of the squad’s biggest concerns.
The Ducks scrapped through a good chunk of Ryan Getzlaf’s crushing four-minute penalty (hooking plus unsportsmanlike conduct), but consistent failures to clear the zone allowed Claude Giroux to boom a one-timer home for the 4-3 game-winner.
Plenty to work on
To drive the point home, the Flyers scored three of their four goals on nine man advantage opportunities. Jaromir Jagr starred in his comeback from injury as he scored two goals plus an assist while hammering 10 shots on goal.
In a bigger picture sense, the Ducks need to work on playing with a lead. A couple lucky bounces and a Teemu Selanne tap-in goal gave them a 3-0 buffer but the Flyers refused to go away.
Most simply, a 47-22 shots margin shows how far Anaheim needs to go.
Good news/bad news
Jonas Hiller looked a lot like the star goalie who carried a shaky defense the past few seasons. He stopped 43 shots on Friday night. While that wasn’t enough, it shows that he can help bail the team out here and there if they decide to play a run-and-gun style.
Another positive bit is that the Ducks’ supporting cast did much of the scoring. Andrew Cogliano and Andrew Gordon pitched in a goal each while usual suspect Teemu Selanne pumped one in. Of course, the flip side is that the stars need to get it done. (Bobby Ryan fans might be mildly disappointed that he “only” received 17:15 of ice time, although the parade to the penalty box likely kept him on the bench more than Boudreau.)
Through most of the game, it seemed like we would be talking about how Boudreau lucked into his first win. Considering Boudreau’s history against Philly, it only makes sense that the Ducks’ single point didn’t come easily.
Boudreau doesn’t have a long time to get acquainted with this situation – nor does he have much room for error – but at least the Ducks’ biggest issues stick out like a sore thumb. Actually fixing them might not be so easy, though.
Here are highlights from the game: