Sunday night’s blowout 8-4 loss to Atlanta could somehow be the best thing that happens to Anaheim this season. Every team has stinkers throughout the course of their season, but this one stings the most. After beating Calgary two games in a row and being at home against one of the worst teams in the NHL, it seemed to be time for the Ducks to finally string together a 3-game winning streak.
I was excited to be there to see Mathieu Schneider’s return to Anaheim after one season here and was a little disappointed that he wasn’t recognized on the video board. Yes he was only here a season and he spent the first portion of it injured, but he played well for the team.
Nevertheless, the game started off well enough as Teemu Selanne tied it up at 1-1 in the first. Penalty troubles once again hurt the team, but instead of persevering, the team seemed to give up. Anaheim took 6 consecutive minors, including 5 straight in the first period. When Atlanta went up 6-1, I was surprised that the fans did not boo the team as much as I thought they would and they did cheer when Selanne scored again to make it 6-2.
Eventually the team would see a glimmer of hope as the score became 6-3 and had a power play. However, Atlanta would fittingly score shorthanded to fash any hopes of a comeback. When the score was 7-4, Anaheim pulled the goalie for an extra attacker on a power play with almost 3 minutes left and as a final kick in the face, former Duck Niclas Havelid scored from behind his net with a bank shot that he meant to just ice the puck out of harms way. That goal epitomized the night the Ducks had along with the 5 on 3 power play goal that pinballed off two Ducks defenders and into the net.
This loss was the most humiliating since 2001 when the Ducks lost 8-0 to Dallas. I think the Ducks needed to lose this horribly to the second-to-last place team in the league. If any positive can come out of it, it will be the kick in the pants the team got to spur them the rest of the season and hopefully into the playoffs. The team has overlooked a few opponents this year and lost most, but won a couple. This time, the team got embarrassed in front of their home crowd and now needs retribution.