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What we learned from the Ducks’ 5-1 loss to Minnesota

What we learned from the Ducks’ 5-1 loss to Minnesota
Minnesota Wild left wing Jordan Greenway (18) redirects a shot with Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm (47) trying to defend on Nov. 9. (Alex Gallardo / Associated Press)

The Ducks are right back where they were before they showed signs of turning the season around. They were completely flat Friday at Honda Center in a 5-1 defeat to the Minnesota Wild, and it's clear that frustrations are mounting in the locker room. Here's what we learned:

The defense, one of the club's strengths over the past five seasons, was a mess.

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Numerous unforced errors. Turnovers galore. It's puzzling to see a blueline that features so many talented players falter so badly.

For some reason, coach Randy Carlyle hasn't reunited his two best pairs from a season ago: Hampus Lindholm-Josh Manson and Cam Fowler-Brandon Montour. Luke Schenn, signed as a free agent over the offseason, committed a turnover that led to the Wild's first goal less than three minutes into the game.

The veteran is clearly no upgrade over Kevin Bieksa and Francois Beauchemin, both of whom struggled at times and are no longer with the club.

The Ducks need answers, and fast.

"We didn’t seem to make a tape-to-tape pass, we didn’t seem to be able to execute, we didn’t get inside on anybody or win any of the one-on-one battles we’ve been winning our share of over the last little while," Carlyle said. "We were just a flat hockey club."

John Gibson can't bail the team out every night, and the constant losing seems to be getting to the goaltender.

He's been stellar this season, and most games that's been enough to at least give the Ducks a chance.

That's why the Ducks handed Gibson an eight-year, $52.1-million extension over the offseason. But each night, he's being peppered with a stunning amount of shots and odd-man rushes.

He faced 43 shots against the Wild and was beaten five times. At one point, he uncharacteristically lost his cool and threw Eric Fehr in a headlock.

"That's a sign of frustration," Carlyle said. "Those are the natural things, when you get amped up and you're playing games, and you're a pro athlete there are times when things like this happen you want to flush and flush right away."

With nine losses in the Ducks’ last 11 games, is general manager Bob Murray considering a change behind the bench?

He wasn't in attendance Friday, but on a scouting trip, so he wasn't able to address the burning question.

He's fired Carlyle once before, after just 24 games in 2011. The Kings already relieved John Stevens of his duties last week. At this point, Carlyle's hot seat is sizzling.

"We're all open for criticism when games like this happen," the coach said. "That's all part of pro sports, everybody shares in the responsibility, and it's our responsibility as a coaching staff to lay a game plan out that we feel gives us a chance for success."

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