Two games into the new season, and the Ducks are not headed in the right direction. The latest 4-1 loss to Nashville continues to point out Anaheim’s weaknesses.
Things were even for most of the game with Marcel Goc scoring first for the Predators at 4:10 of the second period. The Ducks pulled even thanks to their first (and only) goal of the season at 5:25 from Saku Koivu. Koivu was assisted by Teemu Selanne and Cam Fowler, who earned his first NHL point.
Steve Sullivan put Nashville back ahead on the power play at 8:33 and Patrick Hornqvist extended the lead to 3-1 at 16:12.
Nashville lost Pekke Rinne in net early in the third period to what appeared to be a leg injury that occurred when Troy Bodie tumbled into Rinne and everyone else piled on. Anders Lindback, who at 6’6″ is even taller than Rinne, took over in net and held the fort the rest of the way.
Jonas Hiller was stuck in the shooting gallery again, this time facing 49 shots on goal. The Ducks were hoping to get themselves back in the game, but David Legwand made it 4-1 at 12:39 of the third. Penalty trouble did not help the Ducks, who finished off the game in the penalty box.
So what have we learned about the Ducks so far?
1. The defense is thin. Fowler is a bright spot in an otherwise dismal and overworked crew.
2. Hiller will be facing a shooting gallery every game. In two games, the Ducks netminder has faced 92 shots on goal. Even the best goaltender in the world can’t stop that many shots every single game.
3. Offense is lacking. The Ducks have plenty of firepower in Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Bobby Ryan and Teemu Selanne. One goal for and eight goals against is not going to win games. Someone has to put it in the net. Sooner, rather than later.
4. Specialty teams have to be excellent. If you get a power play, convert. If you take a penalty, kill it. So far the Ducks are killing penalties – 12 out of 13.
5. It’s going to be a long season…….
Next up for the Ducks is a Monday matinee in St. Louis.