The Ducks lost for the 12th time in 15 games with a heartbreaking 4-3 overtime defeat to the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday. The blueline is riddled with injuries and the team shows no signs of turning the season around at the moment. Here’s what we learned:
The Ducks simply don’t possess the kind of speed and firepower other offenses boast. Case in point: the Avs with their triumvirate of Gabriel Landeskog, Mikko Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon. The top line was a scoring threat each time they were on the ice.
The Ducks’ top line of Ryan Getzlaf, Rickard Rakell and Ondrej Kase delivered too. While it’s an impressive unit, the Ducks’ other lines fall short. Adam Henrique was a force last season, but he’s been mostly quiet through 22 games (nine points).
Ryan Kesler has been pretty invisible on the offensive side (6 points in 19 games) and if the Ducks are going to salvage their season, they’ll have to find more offense (they average just 2.09 goals per game, ranked second to last in the NHL.)
“The last couple of games we’ve been generating more shots,” said Brandon Montour, who posted a three-point night. “It was going to come. It was nice to get a couple. Three goals wasn’t enough, but it was nice we got a couple.”
Montour is just the kind of player who can help jump-start the anemic offense. He’s a smooth skater, and with Hampus Lindholm and Cam Fowler sidelined by injuries, the onus will fall on Montour to lead the attack on the backend.
He registered nine goals and 23 assists last season, but he’s racked up just nine points this campaign.
“We’re going to have to rely on more people to elevate and play more minutes than they’ve been accustomed,” said coach Randy Carlyle. “That’s an example of Monty getting his feet underneath him and making contributions on both the defensive side and offensive side.
“Just more of an opportunity for a young player to grow his game.”
Ryan Miller always gives the Ducks a chance to win. Sure, he allowed four goals, but two of those came on Avs power plays. The 38-year-old has established himself as one of the game’s best backups, and it would be wise for Carlyle to give him more starts so John Gibson is fresh after the all-star break.
The starting goalie is battling the flu and was unavailable Sunday, so Miller stepped in with 38 saves on 42 shots. As usual, the Ducks allowed their goaltender to face far too many pucks.
“I thought we skated much better,” Miller said. “We were in control of the play a little bit tonight. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the penalty kills we needed. It’s frustrating.”