Ducks head for Nashville in a foul mood
It was going to be a grumpy plane ride to Nashville, considering the way Andrew Cogliano set the mood Monday.
It was the morning after the Ducks put the “dumb” in dumbfounding in Game 2 of their first-round playoff series against the Nashville Predators. They took six minor penalties, some of them needless, during their second consecutive home loss Sunday to open the playoffs.
A long flight to Nashville for Games 3 and 4 of the best-of-seven series — Tuesday and Thursday — probably didn’t help.
“Guys are [ticked] off,” Cogliano said. “Obviously we’ve done this before. We’ve come back, but we need to really buckle down now. It’s easy to talk about it and say we’ve been there before, but this is a completely new series. We need a win, simple as that.”
Yes, the Ducks erased a 2-0 series deficit against the Kings in the second round in 2014. But the way the Ducks have fallen into this hole is disconcerting on multiple levels.
Their lack of composure is reminiscent of the first round in 2014, when they took 29 penalties in six games against Dallas. Ducks General Manager Bob Murray later said they were lucky to win that series.
Anaheim needs more discipline and defense than luck, and Coach Bruce Boudreau didn’t sound optimistic about reversing a long-term trend of being undisciplined.
“You’d think they’d be easily correctable, but … every player knows what’s at stake because they’ve been working nine-10 months to get to this thing. ... Sometimes it gets over the line,” Boudreau said.
Predators teammates rally around goalie Pekka Rinne after beating the Ducks, 3-2, in Game 2 of their first-round playoff matchup.(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Ducks center Ryan Garbutt battles Predators defender Filip Forsberg, left, and Roman Josi for control of the puck in the first period of Game 2.(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Ducks fans rally after left wing Andrew Cogliano scored the first goal of Game 2 past Predators goalie Pekka Rinne.(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Ducks left wing Andrew Cogliano celebrates his first period goal during Game 2 of the first round playoff series against the Predators.(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Ducks center Ryan Garbutt battles Nashville Predators defenders for control of the puck in the first period of Game 2.(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Ducks right wing Corey Perry (10) passes the puck between the legs of Predators right wing Craig Smith during a first-round playoff game at Honda Center on April 17.(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Ducks center Ryan Kesler (15) passes the puck past Predators left wing Viktor Arvidsson in the first period of Game 2.(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Ducks goalie John Gibson looks at the puck as Predators left wing Filip Forsberg celebrates Craig Smith’s second period goal during Game 2.(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Ducks defender Cam Fowler skates back to the locker room with his head hung low after being defeated by the Nashville Predators, 3-2, during Game 2.(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Ducks left wing Andrew Cogliano celebrates his first period goal past Predators goalie Pekka Rinne during Game 2.(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
“It’s almost like road rage. You know you’re not supposed to do it. You know you’re supposed to be in control, but sometimes you lose control. Obviously it’s something we have to gain back and we can’t continue to do that. … It’s something that will be addressed.”
Most of the penalties were taken by veterans Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, David Perron and Ryan Garbutt. Getzlaf committed a neutral-zone hook and Garbutt an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, apparently for talking to the officials.
Boudreau wasn’t shocked about the guilty parties.
“It doesn’t surprise me because it was the same guys that do it all the time,” Boudreau said.
Boudreau also singled out Perry for a missed defensive assignment on Nashville’s second goal, as well as the line of Perry, Rickard Rakell and Jamie McGinn for a poor Game 1. That line is a combined minus-eight with one assist in two games.
Equally concerning is the Ducks’ top-ranked defense, which hasn’t allowed an excess of chances but has been, by their admission, outworked in front of the net, behind it and in the corners.
Cogliano said Nashville is winning by doing things normally characteristic of the Ducks, who feature two of the best agitators in the NHL with Perry and Ryan Kesler. Yet it’s the Predators who have been in the Ducks’ heads.
Boudreau said he might mull over lineup changes but didn’t want to make decisions just “for the sake of change.” Asked about having urgency, Boudreau said, “Well, if they don’t we’re in trouble. We’re down 2-0 going into a very chaotic barn. If we don’t have a sense of urgency now, we never will.”
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