A new coach in Bruce Boudreau and a new perspective on the game gave the Ducks an initial boost in their game against the Flyers on Friday evening. It was not enough to overcome old habits and brain freezes that led to a 4-3 defeat in overtime.
Having been unencumbered with a dump and chase system, the Ducks embraced the ability to use offense early on in the game. Andrew Cogliano scored at 8:12 of the first period on the power play and Teemu Selanne made it 2-0 at 10:34.
Andrew Gordon, who had played for Boudreau briefly in Washington, got his first goal of the year at 6:31 of the second period. Gordon had a terrific training camp, but had not been able to net a goal once the regular season began. Now that Boudreau is here, it was a good time to step up his game. Boudreau, allegedly, did not like Gordon, which is why he spent so much time in Hershey of the AHL. Gordon clearly does not want to visit Syracuse.
The problem for the Ducks is not how the game began. The problem is where it unraveled. Again.
The Flyers are the highest scoring team in the NHL. Offense is not a problem for them. Even when they spot you three goals.
Not to be outdone by the old guy on the Ducks, the old guy in Philadelphia, Jaromir Jagr, got two power play goals. The first at 15:18 of the second and then at 4:46 of the third period.
Jagr, who turns 40 in February, seems to be just as young at heart as Selanne, who is 41. And his two goals came while nursing a sore groin.
The question is, why were the Ducks in the penalty box so much? Good luck with finding the answers to that one Mr. Boudreau.
You knew a tied game was coming. Scott Hartnell fulfilled that at 16:58 to send the game into overtime.
The Ducks had a point, and should have had two points. Then the captain, Ryan Getzlaf, got a call he did not like. And he threw a tantrum about it. Again. Thank you very much, sir, that will be FOUR minutes you can sit your whiny hind end in the penalty box.
Philadelphia made them pay. Claude Giroux converted at 3:29 of the extra period. Game over.
“They came out pretty strong and obviously they’ve got pretty good players that can put the puck in the net,” were Giroux’s comments after the game. “They made a couple of mistakes at the end, and we kind of re-grouped as a team.”
Getzlaf seemed remorseful of his actions.
“It won’t happen again,” Getzlaf promised. “That kind of penalty at the end of the game hurt our group tonight. I’ll take that on me and we’ll go forward from there. I’ve said a lot worse to referees. I’m not afraid to admit that. At the end of the game like that, it’s tough to make that call. I definitely regret what I did and it won’t happen again.”
This is not Getzlaf’s first temper tantrum. I sincerely doubt it will be his last, despite his promises otherwise. Won’t do it again? Should not have happened in the first place. If that is what you call “leadership” from a captain, Boudreau might want to add nap mats to the locker room.
Time to grow up and change those actions for good. Getzlaf finally decided to listen to common sense and keep a visor on his helmet only after hurting his team last spring by sitting out for a couple months with a broken bone in his forehead, a preventable accident.
Apparently Getzlaf is a slow learner.
So are the rest of the Ducks, who cannot seem to resist the opportunity to blow chances, commit errors and self implode. Good luck with that Boudreau!
There are certainly positive signs of progress and there is hope that things will turn around, but until the Ducks cease and desist in doing dumb things night after night, Boudreau might regret coming to Anaheim. And players from the roster might just find themselves in different cities that are not nearly as hospitable in the winter time.