John Gibson, often the lone bright spot in an otherwise gloomy campaign, finally couldn’t take anymore.
With the Ducks trudging toward yet another loss – their ninth in the past 11 games – Gibson got Minnesota Wild forward Eric Fehr into a headlock, lifting his helmet to the ice.
Who could blame Gibson? The Ducks once again hung their starting goaltender out to dry, this time with 43 shots in a 5-1 loss to the Wild on Friday at Honda Center
All that optimism the Ducks engineered Wednesday when it seemed like they finally broke though? Kiss it goodbye. Randy Carlyle’s bunch was outplayed from start to finish.
“It brings you back to earth in a hurry,” the Ducks coach said. “The bottom line is our performance was one we’re not proud of and we all have to share the responsibility of why it happened and how it happened and get ourselves ready.”
The Ducks had trouble just advancing the puck past the red line. They registered just five shots in the opening period, and 21 total.
Nick Ritchie returned from an upper-body injury, bringing the team closer to its full complement of players. It was easier for fans to stomach the struggles with so many key skaters missing in action.
What’s the excuse for such a lifeless performance now that Patrick Eaves, Josh Manson, Jakob Silfverberg, and most importantly, Ryan Getzlaf, are playing together?
“It was just embarrassing really … we weren’t willing to do anything to win the game and the score was indicative of that,” Andrew Cogliano said, the discontent clear in his voice.
“There’s no one feeling sorry for you in this league. You have to forget about it as quickly as possible.”
It’s an especially disappointing effort, both Cogliano and Getzlaf acknowledged , given how well the team played in the victory over the Calgary Flames two days earlier. They felt momentum was building. It came to a screeching halt against the Wild (10-4-2), who made scoring look effortless.
Jason Zucker and Mikael Granlund connected on a pair of nifty passes to one another for goals less than four minutes apart in the second period.
Granlund was able to break free from Manson on his marker and later added a second goal; Zucker escaped backdoor on his own. And it was a Luke Schenn turnover that led to Jason Greenway’s goal just 1:48 into the game, the seventh time in nine outings the Ducks allowed the first tally.
Playing from behind is a recipe for disaster for any team, but especially for this Ducks squad that is ranked second-to-last in scoring (2.35 goals per game entering the contest.)
“It’s very frustrating,” Getzlaf said. “We’re trying to build. And everyday you try to be positive, you try to do things properly and for whatever reason … I didn’t think we had it mentally tonight.”
After the Wild made it 5-1 with 3:57 remaining, a “Fire Carlyle!” chant broke out in the upper deck. One has to wonder if general manager Bob Murray is contemplating a change to spark his lifeless squad.