Ducks self-destruct, again, in 4-3 loss to Flyers
The coach was different, but the Ducks’ deficiencies were the same Friday, with a lack of discipline costing them the chance to give Bruce Boudreau a win in his first game behind their bench.
Ryan Getzlaf’s inexcusably petulant reaction to being called for tripping early in overtime earned him an extra two minutes in the penalty box for unsportsmanlike conduct, and the onrushing Flyers didn’t waste that chance to complete their comeback from a three-goal deficit.
Claude Giroux ripped a one-timer from the right circle off a brilliant pass from Daniel Briere at 3:29 of the sudden-death period, lifting Philadelphia to a 4-3 victory and spoiling Boudreau’s Ducks debut.
“A lot of good things out there, but the bottom line tonight was too many penalties. There’s a lot of penalties that we don’t have to take,” Teemu Selanne said.
He suggested that to be put at such a decided disadvantage in overtime “it’s got to be murder,” and said referee Brian Pochmara “blew the game” by giving Getzlaf the extra penalty and putting the Flyers on an extended power play instead of giving Getzlaf a misconduct penalty that wouldn’t have left the Ducks short. But in truth, the Ducks self-destructed again and have only one win in their last nine games.
They gave up 47 shots — not a season-high, which is a frightening thought — and took 22. Killing so many penalties tired them out and sapped the energy they displayed early in the game, when the adrenaline of hearing a voice other than former coach Randy Carlyle seemed to give extra spring to their legs and lift their spirits as they built a 3-0 lead by 6:31 of the second period.
“We have to be disappointed,” Ducks center Saku Koivu said, “but I think at this point, what’s happened in the last month for us, you try to grab every little positive piece that you can from this.”
The biggest negative was Getzlaf, their team captain, banging his stick on the boards and saying a few choice words to the officials, though he said afterward he had said worse and gotten lesser punishment.
“It’s frustrating. It’s an emotional game out there,” he said. “It definitely won’t happen again, that kind of stuff at the end of the game. It hurt our group tonight. I’ll take that on me, and we’ll go forward from here.”
Boudreau knew his team hadn’t shown enough discipline against the prolific Flyers.
“They have too much skill. They’re the highest scoring team in the league for a reason,” he said. “If you look at the teams that are successful, it’s not the teams that are the most penalized teams.”
Initially, it seemed the coaching switch was a stroke of genius. The Ducks cruised to a 3-0 lead, scoring on a power play at 8:12 of the first period after Andrew Cogliano broke past a couple of defenders and poked the puck past Ilya Bryzgalov, and again at 10:34. Matt Beleskey controlled the puck below the goal line and passed to Koivu near the right post. Koivu sent a pass through the legs of Flyers defenseman Braydon Coburn and to Selanne, who had a tap-in on the left side of the slot for his ninth goal this season.
The Ducks extended their lead to 3-0 in the second period after Andrew Gordon deflected a Ben Maxwell shot. The Flyers cut that to 3-1 on a power-play goal, a redirection by Jaromir Jagr, and he recorded the 116th multiple-goal game his career when he took a pass from Kimmo Timonen and whipped a one-timer past Hiller from the right circle during a five-on-three Flyers advantage. Scott Hartnell tied it with 3:02 left in the third period, taking a pass from Timonen and scoring from short range.
Boudreau did see some positives. “The energy and enthusiasm on the bench I thought was real good,” he said. “Everybody left everything they had on the ice it wasn’t a question of people not giving their all.”
And still it wasn’t enough. Maybe the players needed changing, not the coach.
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