It’s often called “free hockey” because fans get more of a game than they normally pay for, but overtime is starting to be costly for the Ducks.
They fell to 0-6 in games that end in overtime following a 3-2 overtime loss to the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday. While a lot of their game looked right, the lost point in the standings is more difficult to overlook this time of season.
Here’s what we learned:
The Ducks can’t continue to rely on Ryan Kesler’s line
It has been by far their best this season and it helped them get to overtime with Jakob Silfverberg’s goal, but it’s past time for Ducks leaders Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry to assert their leadership roles. The two are among the Ducks’ scoring leaders but their impact hasn’t been as heavy as it normally is.
Meanwhile, Kesler, Silfverberg and Andrew Cogliano are the Ducks’ best defensive line and all three are having much-improved seasons offensively.
“They’re salesmen for a coaching staff,” Ducks Coach Randy Carlyle said. “They do it the right way 99% of the time. That’s really … a luxury for a coach to have that group together and watch them execute and work and do the things that are asked of them on a day-to-day basis and a game-to-game basis. They’re not perfect, and we’re not asking for perfect but what we’re asking for is consistency and they’re probably our most consistent group.”
Rickard Rakell isn’t immune from criticism
It’s easy to laud Rakell’s 14 goals in 25 games, but Carlyle said he has to be around the puck more, especially if he’s going to play with Getzlaf and Perry. Carlyle took Rakell off the top line again late in the game Tuesday, much like he did in the previous game to send a message.
“I think Ricky has to learn that he’s got to become more consistent,” Carlyle said. “That comes with a little bit more responsibility from his perspective … if he’s going to play up with the top-tier players in the league that there has to be more consistency in his game.”
San Jose is the defending Western Conference champion for a reason
The Sharks didn’t play their best game. They allowed 36 shots, went scoreless on four power plays and took a 2-1 lead on a lucky bounce.
But there is something to be said for a team that has played together for a long time and is able to eke two points out of a tough road building.
San Jose forced the Ducks into 23 missed shots, usually a sign of closing the shooting lanes. It also helps to have Brent Burns, who has scored the second-most regular-season overtime goals (10) by a defenseman in NHL history, behind former Duck Scott Niedermayer (13).
“We played a really good team,” Cogliano said. “I thought we played them pretty well, and we had, probably, more chances than they did to win the game. But good teams usually find a way to win. That’s a good team and they proved that.”