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What we learned from the Ducks’ 4-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes

What we learned from the Ducks’ 4-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes
Ducks defenseman Brandon Montour (26) and Carolina Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho (20) reach for the puck during the second period on Dec. 7. (Kyusung Gong / Associated Press)

Goals are still scarce for the Ducks, who have scored two goals or fewer in 17 of their 31 games this season. Through Friday’s 4-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes, they ranked 30th in the NHL with an average of 2.35 goals per game, spared the indignity of ranking last only because the Kings have a lock on that spot with an average of 2.10 goals per game.

Here’s what else we learned from the Ducks’ loss Friday night:

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They don’t yet fit Randy Carlyle’s ideal blue-collar image

The Ducks’ coach wants his team to be hard-working, energetic on the forecheck and solid defensively and build its identity from there. His players fell far short Friday night, without any real explanation. Carolina was winless in its previous three games, including an overtime loss at home to the Ducks last Friday and losses to the Kings at Staples Center and the Sharks in San Jose. This wasn’t a situation in which the Ducks were overmatched, but they took themselves out of it by slowing down and reacting instead of taking the initiative.

“I thought we started out okay, but then our game fell off a little bit as the game went on,” defenseman Josh Manson said. “A lot of turnovers in the first period was something that we talked about. And we got away from that game we’ve been playing for the last five games.

“Any time you have a lapse, it’s going to be frustrating, but it’s one of those things. I said at the beginning of the year, you’ve got to learn from it. We’ve got to come back [on Saturday] and have a good practice and get ready for Sunday.”

They face the New Jersey Devils at Honda Center on Sunday in the third game of this four-game homestand.

Carlyle had a simple explanation for Friday’s loss. “We didn’t execute. We didn’t play anywhere near to a blue-collar type of game that was required and consequently we were receiving the game,” he said. “We couldn’t execute. It was one of those games where nothing we seemed to try to do had any positive effect. It was all frustration and a lack of ability to execute. They were faster and quicker and executed to a higher rate than we did.”

The Ducks didn’t have another rally left in them

After staging some third-period comebacks recently, including erasing a 5-1 deficit to defeat the Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals on the road last Sunday, the Ducks hardly stirred in the third period against Carolina on Friday.

“I think it’s surprising. I thought we were going to have a little bit better response in the third period,” Manson said. “You look at the last couple games, we were tied going in the third period and found a way to win the game a 4-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday].”

Silfverberg knew early in the third period Friday that the Ducks weren’t doing the right things to complete a comeback. “We were not connecting on passes and just playing slow, starting all the way from our own end and not exiting our zone with the puck in our hands….They played better than us tonight.”

The defense pair of Brandon Montour and Hampus Lindholm struggled

The duo was on the ice for three of Carolina’s goals and each defenseman finished with a plus/minus rating of minus-3.

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