Five losses in a row. Not a single win in March. The Ducks got the wrong memo. They were supposed to finish the final 20 games strong and make it into the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season. There are 15 games to go, and the only description for Anaheim is lame Ducks.
Nashville, a team that has struggled in Anaheim, managed a 1-0 shutout thanks to a 31 save performance by goaltender Pekke Rinne.
“It’s not an easy place to play,” said Shea Weber, who had the game’s only goal. “They’ve always had good teams in here. It’s tough but we did a good job of limited them and getting the goals we needed.”
The Ducks? Not so good tonight. Again. Couldn’t find the net and couldn’t find enough emotion to make a difference.
“As a group, we don’t seem to be engaged emotionally in the hockey game,” coach Randy Carlyle said, clearly disappointed in his team’s effort. “There is for spurts, but not for 60 minutes. That’s what’s really been frustrating for everybody. The bench is quiet, the room is quiet. It’s like we’re waiting for something bad to happen.”
The Ducks certainly got their chances. The problem was they went smack into Rinne’s glove, went wide or just generally were kept out by a strange force field protecting the Nashville net.
The Predators, who were shellacked 8-5 by the Sharks on Thursday, did not meet up with a similar fate. Then again, having a 5 on 3 advantage usually makes it much easier to score on your opponent. Shea Weber did just that at 17:54, giving Nashville a 1-0 lead.
Ryan Getzlaf, who seems to be making as many errors as good moves of late, was the second man in the penalty box when he took a high sticking penalty.
“I think a lot of it has to do with lack of moving his feet,” was Carlyle’s analysis. “He’s making more plays standing still. I think that was more of a frustration thing (the high sticking penalty).”
Getzlaf acknowledged his culpability.
“The penalties hurt us. It wasn’t like we thought it was going to be the deciding factor, but everything can be. That is something that we have to realize as a group, myself included.”
Now the Ducks have to face San Jose on Sunday. They haven’t won a single game against their Pacific Division rival and things don’t appear likely to change in the final meeting between the two teams this season.
The focus on Sunday will be CHOC night. Autographed Choco bears will be on sale for $60 each. All the signage on the boards will be highlighting CHOC hospital.
Maybe CHOC can do some triage on the team and see if there is a pulse. It is difficult to discern any life at this point.