Anytime you lose to a close rival, you tend to feel sick afterwards.
Last night, in front of a sold-out crowd at the Staples Center, the Ducks fell 2-1 to the Los Angeles Kings in the first game of the Freeway Series. The Ducks and Kings will go at it again tonight, this time at the Honda Center in Anaheim.
The Ducks trailed 1-0 until very late in the third period, when the ageless wonder Teemu Selanne scored on the power play to tie it up. Going into the shootout, it took seven rounds before the Kings finally were able to take the victory.
So let's look at what went well, and not so well for the Ducks last night.
Jonas Hiller was nearly perfect, stopping 36 out of 37 shots. Seventeen of those shots came in the first period, twelve in the second and only seven in the third. Without Hiller having a superb game, the score would have probably been a lot more lopsided. Several timely saves on the penalty kill and at least a dozen great saves on the fly from Hiller kept the Ducks in the game.
The penalty kill had a great game, despite giving up the loan regulation goal, albeit on a five-on-three. The short-handed unit killed five of six penalties as they continue to get better and better. In the past I've always been scared when out PK unit hits the ice, but this year I have much more confidence in the group. Most people will gripe and complain about the loan opposing goal coming when the Ducks were short-handed, but there really isn't much you can do about a five on three situation. I'm just thoroughly surprised the Ducks didn't give up more goals on the penalty kill.
THE NOT SO GOOD
While the penalty kill unit was nearly perfect on the night, the Ducks took way too many penalties for anybody to be happy. I understand that they try to play with an agressive style and grind it out, but six penalties is a little excessive. This is especially true against a Kings team who are ranked eighth in the league in power play succession (although it does help to have the ninth best penalty killing unit at the moment).
Offense. What can I say? The Ducks were outshot and outperformed in the offensive side. The Kings had 17 shots in the first period versus the Ducks five shots. Bottom line, you need to score goals to win games and the Ducks are not doing it right now. Hopefully that will change sooner than later.
My first post will have to be a little short since I'm pressed for time, but hopefully the Ducks can rebound tonight against the Kings in Anaheim, where the Ducks are statistically a better team on all fronts.