Another game. Another loss. It’s safe to say something isn’t right with this team at this point. Yes there are injuries, but the problem this team is facing is much more than that. Here is a look at some statistics for the Anaheim Ducks over the past 6 games:
Tampa Bay at Anaheim 2-1 loss 37-29 shots 1 PPO 2 PPOA
Boston at Anaheim 2-4 win 42-27 shots 0 PPO 2 PPOA
Florida at Anaheim 2-3 win 52-28 shots 5 PPO 7 PPOA
Anaheim at San Jose 3-2 win 30-42 shots 2 PPO 3 PPOA
Las Vegas at Anaheim 4-2 loss 49-19 shots 4 PPO 3 PPOA
Winnipeg at Anaheim 4-1 loss 35-30 shots 3 PPO 4 PPOA
When averaging out those totals, they’re giving up almost 43 shots a game, while only putting 27 pucks on their opponent's goal. Furthermore, they’re averaging 1 less PP per game. No matter who is in your lineup, looking at those statistics, any team is putting themselves at a disadvantage when that’s the statistical norm.
The main question this team should be asking themself is: why is the opposition consistently getting so many shots on goal? The way I see it, and keep in mind I’m currently a Legend Hearthstone player, this team has a culture of an, “Oh, I’ll give you that” mindset. The neutral zone is as open as the toll road. The opposition's forwards skate forward, and the defensemen skate backwards. If you follow hockey, you might have heard the saying, “Battle for the blue line.” That saying has not been applicable for this team in quite sometime. Rather, it’s like there’s this weird dialog of, “Yeah, skate it right on in. The last thing I want is for you to dump the puck into the corner and work a forecheck. That means there’s a possibility I could get checked! And I don’t want that, so just skate it on in.” I’ve observed this trend time and time again, which is why I’ve said the, “Oh, I’ll give you that” mindset is the culprit of this team's woes. Because this crap happens, and then you want to know what happens ... They’re flat-flooted in their defensive zone just chasing the game. And when your team is playing that kind of hockey you're going to be giving up more shots and end up taking more penalties, which is exactly what is happening to the Ducks. Sophisticated stuff.
The above is a recipe for losing, and if this team doesn’t start making the neutral a factor then it’ll be more of the same, because they’re inability to make the neutral zone a factor is the cause of a stifled transition game, poor possession numbers, and long periods of no offense whatsoever.
Tomorrow this team has a chance to redeem themself. The Los Angeles Kings are one of the premier transition teams in the NHL. So are we going to see the Ducks hold their ground, and make LA’s life a living hell, or is it just going to be more of the same passive hockey I’ve watched for the past 6 games now. Puck drops at 7:30 P.M., so we’ll have to wait until then to find out.