Another day, another Ducks loss. You get your hopes up that after one good win that the team can maybe pull it together for two in a row. Then your hopes get dashed on the rocks and you go back to your reality of expecting losses. Being a Ducks fan is not an easy thing these days.
Anaheim finally won a game on the road, their first in two months, and then they come home and lay an egg in front of the home crowd against Vancouver.
OK, maybe Ducks fans were not technically the home crowd, because southern California at any time during the hockey season seems really appealing for Vancouver fans. They also appeared to outnumber the locals, again, at the Honda Center.
Traveling Canuck lovers were not disappointed by their team’s performance.
“Every time we scored, you could hear it,” said goaltender Cory Schneider, who was in net in place of the usual Roberto Luongo. “It felt like a home game at times.”
They scored plenty of times in their 5-2 victory over the Ducks.
Henrik Sedin got things started at 1:11. It was a personal present from Toni Lydman and a sign that things were not going to go well.
Cory Hodgson ended the period with a late goal at 18:29 to give the Canucks a 2-0 lead going into the first intermission.
Instead of the Ducks turning things around on the scoreboard in the second period, Vancouver merely extended their lead.
Mason Raymond made it 3-0 at 3:28 and Daniel Sedin took another personal gift from the Ducks and made it 4-0 at 7:59.
At that point coach Bruce Boudreau had had enough. Bye bye to Jonas Hiller, hello Dan Ellis.
“A lot of times when teams score two goals really quickly, the goalie starts thinking about the previous goal,” Boudreau said. “Then all of a sudden another one goes in before they can get their head back into it.”
Clearly Hiller’s head was not into it. A common theme this year for the netminder who has a .899 save percentage and 3.15 goals against average. Hiller is number one in one category, however. Losses, with 15 of them. Not where you want to be number one.
Ellis fared far better in net, stopping 14 of 15 shots, and in my personal opinion, should start the game against Colorado on New Year’s Eve. At the very least Ellis gave his teammates a chance to get back into the game.
Schneider, however, did his best to keep the Ducks out of it, stopping 30 of 32 shots on goal, including one from Bobby Ryan that narrowly missed crossing the line.
Ryan was finally rewarded for his efforts at 6:11 of the third period, thanks to an amazing (or is it really?) pass from Teemu Selanne.
Nick Bonino narrowed the scoring gap at 14:24, giving the Ducks a little hope.
The Canucks happily dashed them as the Daniel Sedin got his second of the game at 16:02 in a textbook play.
The positives out of this one were that the Ducks were much better disciplined, not giving up a power play to Vancouver until midway through the third period. It was their only trip to the penalty box. On the other hand, the Ducks were able to force the Canucks into several errors and had six power play opportunities.
Had the Ducks been able to convert on those chances, they might have had a better chance at getting a point out of the game.
Instead, the Ducks head into their final game of 2011 (if only it were the final game of the thus far miserable 2011-2012 season) on New Year’s Eve. They get to see Jean-Sebastien Giguere in net for the Colorado Avalanche. Chances are exceptionally good that Jiggy will receive a warm welcome from the crowd in his first visit back to Anaheim since being traded away to Toronto in January 2010.
It will probably be the only warm and fuzzy feeling that Ducks fans will have all evening, but it is better than nothing.
IN OTHER NOTES: Kyle Palmieri was sent back to Syracuse, as was Mark Fraser, who went on a conditioning assignment. Saku Koivu remains out with a groin strain, although he is nearing his return. Jason Blake is also getting closer and is ahead of schedule with recovery from sliced tendons in his wrist.