Monday, 10.31.2011 / 9:15 AM PT
You can talk about strategy, you can talk about special teams, you can talk about faceoffs, puck possession, moving your feet, forechecking, whatever.
Bottom line, the Ducks just aren't scoring any goals right now.
In a rough weekend in Nashville and Columbus, the Ducks scored a total of one goal in a 3-0 Saturday loss to the Preds and a 3-1 defeat to the Blue Jackets last night (okay, you could have done the math without me). And as we're in the last day of October, the Ducks rank near the bottom of the NHL with an average of just 1.91 per game.
It's a pretty eye-opening stat for a team that boasts a roster with a 50-goal scorer from last year (Corey Perry), an 80-point guy from last year (Teemu Selanne), the top scoring defenseman in the league last season (Lubomir Visnovsky), a guy who has scored 30 goals or more the past three seasons (Bobby Ryan) and one of the top playmakers in the game (Ryan Getzlaf).
On the bright side, those credentials are precisely what should reassure us of this: The scoring slump ain't gonna last for long. (My mom would kill me for using that word, but it just felt right.)
Last night's loss to Columbus -- just the Jackets' second win of the season -- was a microcosm of what has ailed the Ducks on the offensive end. Yes, Steve Mason had a strong night in net, and looked as much like Calder Trophy winner Steve Mason as he has in the past couple of seasons. But the Ducks didn't do enough to make it a tough night for him. Of the shots the Ducks did get off, too many of them were blocked or deflected before they even got to Mason, and as a result he only had to make 20 saves to earn the win. The Jackets racked up 18 blocked shots on the night, seven of them by James Wisniewski alone. Anaheim also had just 20 shots on the Saturday playoff rematch with the Predators.
"It's a team game, and to make up a team, you need all the parts pushing in right direction," Randy Carlyle said. "Right now, we're having trouble generating any sustained offense. We've got to go back to a checking game and a workmanlike game. And I don't think we can say that we've played strong enough in those areas."
Carlyle emphasized what us fans are seeing, that the Ducks appear to be trying to make the perfect pass, rather than putting the puck on net and trying to make something happen. "It seems like we want to make the pretty play," he said last night. "We're not simplifying. We try to make plays into the defensive strength of the hockey clubs that we're playing against. And everybody's playing the same way."
The Ducks haven't been able to replicate what they did during that run at the start of this month: win games despite not having their best night. During their four-game win streak near the start of the month, they averaged just 2.50 goals per game. "Everybody's going to win when they play their best," Selanne told the OC Register. "You have to win the games when you're not playing quite there but you still find a way to win. That's what good teams do and that's what we're not right now."
Hopefully that will change as this road trip rolls on, the Ducks having moved to Washington D.C. to take on the Capitals tomorrow night, then the Rangers at the Garden on Thursday. Meanwhile, the Ducks are hoping today's recall of Nick Bonino might add some scoring punch, as he led the Crunch with 11 points in nine games. J.F. Jacques, who finished serving his five-game suspension over the weekend, was sent back to Syracuse.
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Several members of the Ducks, including host George Parros, are getting a clean shave tonight at The Art of Shaving in Washington D.C. in support of "Movember." Georgie tweeted today: Really looking forward to a hot shave today to kick things off right for Movember...I hope they have a razor that can cut through steel.
We plan to have photos from the event on the website later tonight or first thing tomorrow.
“Movember” is an annual charity event during the month of November where men grow moustaches to raise awareness for men’s health issues, specifically prostate cancer and other cancers that affect men. As we've mentioned before, all of the Ducks will be growing mustaches during the month of November in support of the cause, except for Jonas Hiller, who is paying tribute in his own unique way.
We'll have more information on the Ducks' involvement later today. But for now, to make a donation visit us.movember.com/mospace/983114/.
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I was a guest last night on the Duck Calls postgame radio show on AM 830 with host Josh Brewster. You can listen to it below or by clicking here (I did my best to include just my segments):