Twas the day after Thanksgiving and the Ducks let the turkey settle with an afternoon game against the Blackhawks. By the end of the game, the Ducks were the ones with indigestion, as were Ducks fans who got to witness Anaheim’s sixth loss in a row.
Seems like the Ducks can’t get anything right these days. A 4-1 loss to Chicago means that Anaheim now is one game under the .500 mark with a 10-11-3 record. six game winning streak! After creeping up to fourth place in the Western Conference, the Ducks now have slunk back down to 12th place and sit at the bottom of the Pacific Division.
Four days off between games and two days away from the rink to rest and recover did not accomplish much of anything.
Dan Sexton, who took a trip to and from Syracuse since the last game, got the Ducks only goal on five power play attempts. Sexton tipped in Saku Koivu’s shot from the blue line at 16:49 of the first period. It was the first goal for the Ducks in their new third jerseys (lots of orange and a big webbed D in front).
Specialty teams made the difference in the game.· The Blackhawks not only killed four of five penalties, they scored a short-handed goal on one of them, making it 1-1 at 7:40 of the second period.· Duncan Keith had his puck trickle in behind Jonas Hiller after the Ducks turned it over.
The score might have been even going into the third period, but that was it for the Ducks. Another turnover, this one by Andy Sutton, was the perfect gift for Patrick Sharp. He happily took it and put it in the net at 2:55 to give the Blackhawks the lead.
“I’ve been doing this long enough to know you shouldn’t put the puck in the middle of the ice at the back end,” said Sutton. “I just made a terrible turnover that cost us. That’s the truth.”
Goals from Niklas Hjalmarsson and Troy Brouwer put the game out of reach of the careless and listless Ducks. After Brouwer put in #4, coach Randy Carlyle decided Hiller had had enough and put Curtis McElhinney in net for the remainder of the game.
All in all, a lousy effort for a team that needed a rebound win.
“We gave the puck away way too often and way too easily,” Hiller observed shrewdly. “They didn’t have to work too hard for their chances.”
Does it get any easier? Of course not. The Ducks next two games are against Pacific Division rivals. Phoenix on Saturday and Los Angeles on Monday. Phoenix currently is on a seven game winning streak and tops the division. The Kings have only won one game recently and are sliding down the standings after dominating early on.
How long will the bleeding continue? How long will GM Bob Murray still have a job? Murray has changed enough personnel, some of them several times over, that he should have results by now. Ducks fans have had their patience tested long enough.
In other notes: The Ducks were without Teemu Selanne for the second game in a row due to a groin strain. Kyle Chipchura rejoined the line-up after being out with a concussion since October 30.