Three bad games. Three good games. One so-so game that looked like the Ducks were back to square one. Thus has been the Anaheim Ducks pre-season.
Looking to build on the good from the prior three games, the Ducks instead took some steps backwards.
“There were a lot of mistakes,” said Teemu Selanne. “It looked like the team was not ready. I don’t know if we were just trying to survive and stay healthy before we go to Europe, but that is not our hockey. I’m a little disappointed about our effort.”
A little disappointed? How about a lot.
It is never a good sign when you think the “C” on the captain’s jersey stands for “crap,” as in how poorly he is playing.
Although the Ducks outshot the Kings early on, Los Angeles was the one on the board first, with a goal from newly acquired Mike Richards at 1:08 of the second period.
The Ducks were able to tie up the game on the power play with a goal from Selanne. Considering how they began on the power play, it was a miracle that they managed to even get the puck in the Kings zone, much less put it in the net. Anaheim’s top power play unit looked more like the Keystone Cops play hockey as they managed to do a good deal of the penalty kill themselves, all with the puck in their possession. Once the puck got into the Kings zone, they made it look textbook with a quick finish from Selanne at 10:53.
The game appeared pretty even until the third period. The Kings outshot the Ducks 11-2 in the first half of the period and were rewarded for their efforts at 14:17 with the game winning goal by Willie Mitchell.
Waking up after that, the Ducks finally got serious and had some decent chances in the final minutes of the game. After pulling Dan Ellis, who split time in net with Jonas Hiller, the Kings had a great deal of difficulty getting the puck into the empty net and sealing their fate.
Getzlaf was instrumental as a puck caromed off his foot and directly onto Anze Kopitar’s stick. Kopitar, unlike his teammates before him, did not miss the gaping net. 3-1 Kings. Game over.
“We’re not very happy with the way we played,” said coach Randy Carlyle after the game. “We’ll address it and move forward. It was the last preseason game. In my mind, we didn’t play an NHL type of game. We played more of a shinny type of game. It looked like summer hockey at time. We have to be better than that.”
The Ducks can ponder the errors of their ways on the way to Helsinki, Finland. They leave tomorrow morning to start the season in Europe.