The Ducks tried and failed Friday to beat the Chicago Blackhawks with a defense consisting of three rookies, two second-year players and no one older than 24.
The results were predictable, a 4-1 loss with 38 shots fired at goalie Frederik Andersen. Here’s what we learned:
Predict the future
General Manager Bob Murray forecast that outcome before it happened.
So it was perfectly timed that seconds after the Blackhawks took a 2-0 first-period lead, the Ducks traded a third-round pick in next year’s draft for Tampa Bay veteran defenseman Eric Brewer.
Mumps-diagnosed defenseman Clayton Stoner could return from his injured-reserve status as quickly as Saturday night’s game in San Jose, but two constants of Anaheim’s defense, Ben Lovejoy and Francois Beauchemin, are on the shelf with broken fingers.
Lovejoy had his cast removed this week but could still miss two more weeks; Beauchemin injured his finger Tuesday and will be out four to six weeks.
The Ducks lead the Pacific Division. They want no part of testing whether that claim holds with the group they sent out Friday.
Brewer is needed, but it’s not a pure desperation move
The former St. Louis Blues captain and 2002 Olympic gold medalist with Canada was admired by the Ducks before the team fell into this plight.
Brewer’s steadiness -- he’s plus-five in 17 games -- and experience allow him to earn $3.75 million annually. So don’t expect him to sink deeply to the bench when Lovejoy and Beauchemin come back.
Follow Palmieri’s lead
After a hit on Chicago defenseman Johnny Oduya bloodied the Blackhawk’s face and got Ducks forward Kyle Palmieri ejected, reporters looking to speak to Palmieri at game’s end failed to find him.
He was already on his way to the airport so he could meet the team at LAX for its Friday night trip to San Jose, where they’re set to play Saturday night.
The miscues of the Chicago game were obvious. Good teams can address such things quickly and find an extra gear, even if it is one night later in a building that has been a den of horrors.
Defensive forwards needed
Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau was most upset with NHL officials who he felt botched a slashing call and the Palmieri hit, but not far down on his hit list was the lethargic defensive effort by forwards.
Boudreau said “we talked” before the game about the defensive challenges of Friday’s matchup, and yet too many were still too late getting back to help, leading to an early deficit and heavy pressure on Andersen.