The injury-depleted Ducks were lucky to escape with one point Saturday. And they have Cam Fowler and John Gibson to thank for even reaching overtime before falling to the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 on Wayne Simmonds’ fourth goal of the season. Here’s what we learned:
Playing from behind: The Ducks had to crawl their way back from a 4-1 deficit Thursday after allowing two goals in the game’s first nine minutes. Again, they allowed the visiting team to jump on the board early after Ivan Provorov blasted one past Gibson 8:19 into the game.
“I’d like to see us get on the board first, but we were able to hang in the hockey game,” Fowler said. “We’re not spotting teams two or three goals. You have to look at that as a positive. I’d like to see us come out and put teams on their heels instead of vice versa. We haven’t shown that in the first couple of games, but the season is still young. I expect us to improve.”
Fowler leads the way: The blueliner signed an eight-year, $52-million extension in the offseason, and it’s easy to see why the Ducks covet Fowler. He joins the rush when he needs to, and he’s making plays in the neutral zone. None were better than his pickpocket of Flyers star Claude Giroux, which led to a short-hander goal after Fowler blasted it past Brian Elliot.
Power-play woes: The Ducks’ man-advantage unit was middling last season with an 18.7% conversion rate. This season, they’ve come up empty on each of eight chances. And worse, they aren’t generating many great scoring opportunities on the power play. The puck simply isn’t moving, but much of that can be attributed to the absence of captain Ryan Getzlaf, who quarterbacks the top unit when he’s healthy.
Top-line quiet: Two nights after the Andrew Cogliano-Rickard Rakell-Corey Perry trio ignited the Ducks with each player producing three points and accounting for four of five goals, the unit was silent. Perry, who scored two goals in the opener, only threw one shot on goal. Cogliano didn’t record any shots on net. Rakell had two. If the Ducks are going to hold down the fort until Getzlaf and Co. are back, they’ll need more nights like Thursday’s performance from the makeshift No. 1 line.