The Vancouver Canucks came into Honda Center on Sunday for their second game in as many nights, with a goalie, Richard Bachman, who hadn’t appeared in an NHL game since Oct. 30, 2015.
But not even 44 shots by the Ducks could break Bachman, or Vancouver, in a 2-1 loss that was disappointing on multiple fronts.
Here’s what we learned:
The Ducks are baffling
The Ducks, facing a non-playoff team at home, admitted they lacked urgency at the start of Game 65. Hockey teams go through doldrums but this seemed inexplicable given the team’s desire to build toward the playoffs in the final third of the regular season.
“We got 44 shots, but the desperation didn’t set in until the third period,” Coach Randy Carlyle said.
Carlyle was supposed to hold his players accountable after his return to Anaheim this season. He benched defenseman Sami Vatanen earlier this season, and it could be argued that some other players deserve similar treatment.
Defenseman Kevin Bieksa committed a turnover that led to the game-winning goal, and Corey Perry has had spells of ineffectiveness.
But with the trade deadline passed, Carlyle doesn’t have much in the way of options to plug in, and issues such as Sunday’s performance will have to be fixed internally.
It’s a matter of positioning
For a grinding team that can win low-scoring games, the Ducks often seem to be uninvolved in the dirty work that goes along with that identity.
Specifically, they haven’t put themselves between the puck and the opposition, nor gone to the net for rebounds.
“I think tonight it was just a lack of execution and the willingness to get inside on a consistent basis,” Carlyle said. “No second or third opportunities. Not enough screens.”
Jakob Silfverberg continues to be under the radar
He was arguably the best player on the ice in the first period. He hounded the puck, protected it and had the Ducks’ best scoring chance early.
At one point, Silfverberg was surrounded by three Canucks and still managed to get the puck to a teammate. He finished with nine shots on goal.
It might be a while before he is recognized nationally as one of the NHL’s best two-way forwards, but Silfverberg is well on his way.