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By Adam Brady
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for the Ducks and Honda Center.
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Not Much Better for the Ducks at Home

Thursday, 11.10.2011 / 10:32 AM
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Ducks Off the Ice by Adam Brady
Not Much Better for the Ducks at Home

The first indication that it might not be their night unfortunately came very early for the Anaheim Ducks. A team that has given up an early first goal too many times during the swoon did it again to the Predators last night, and in ugly fashion.

Just 1:20 after the opening faceoff, before many in Honda Center had even found their seats, Nashville rookie Craig Smith made a seemingly innocuous toss on net from below the extended goal line. Ninety times out of 100 (heck 999 times out of 1,000) that puck remains harmless, but this time it kicked off Jonas Hiller's right skate blade and creeped over the stripe behind him, with Hiller looking back in disbelief.

“That’s something that can really take the wind out of your sails, especially when it happens to you early in a game,” Cam Fowler said later. “It’s up to us to battle through that adversity. You can tell on the bench that when those goals go in it kind of deflates us. But it’s up to us to rally around each other.”

As if one fluky goal wasn't enough, a few minutes later a Colin Wilson centering pass went off the stick blade of Saku Koivu and got past an outstretched Hiller, making it 2-0 very early. And you couldn't help but think of a Teemu Selanne quote earlier in the week, in which he said, “When they score one goal, all the heads go down and the body language goes, ‘Here we go again’. We have to change that.”

Things did get better for the Ducks this time, as they got within a goal of the Predators, but never tied it. They did get a big goal in the final minute of the first when a Cam Fowler shot from the point nicked a screening Devante Smith-Pelly and darted over the shoulder of Pekka Rinne. It was an awkward way for Smith-Pelly to get his first NHL goal, since the score was credited to Fowler for most of the game until replay reviews determined Smith-Pelly got a piece of it, which we didn't even find out until much later.

Either way, Anaheim was within a goal and on a power play in the second, offering hope that was tarnished when Martin Erat got on a breakaway, was pestered with a couple of stick slaps from behind by Lubomir Visnovsky and was stoned by Hiller. The official behind the net immediately awarded a penalty shot, a call that was questioned by many and became even more painful when Erat whistled a perfect wrist shot into the top corner.

Francois Beauchemin's got the Ducks within one again when he jabbed at a loose puck and got it behind Rinne. But one more time our hearts were broken by Smith, who beat Toni Lydman and one-timed a Wilson feed to make it 4-2 Nashville. Thanks in part to another strong night by Rinne, that ended up being the final.

The numbers are hard to look at: a sixth straight loss, nine of the last 10 and a loss to the budding rival Predators at home, where Anaheim had owned an 18-3-2 record against them. The more uplifting number: 10 of the next 12 games are at home, a critical time for the Ducks to turn things around. That starts today at practice, and tomorrow night against the Canucks at Honda Center.

- - -

The Ducks made a move this morning, claiming former Winnipeg Jet (still feels weird to say that) center Ben Maxwell off waivers. The 23-year-old Maxwell played in four games with the Jets this season (no points) and is a former second-round pick by Montreal in '06. He played 20 games in two seasons there, and was traded to Atlanta (now the Jets) in a deal that brought defenseman Brent Sopel to the Canadiens. Maxwell played 12 games for the Thrashers last season. 

Maxwell is expected to join the team ASAP and be available for tomorrow night's game.

We don't know much about him yet, but we do know he has met Justin Bieber.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 54 20 8 266 209 116
2 y - COL 82 52 22 8 250 220 112
3 x - STL 82 52 23 7 248 191 111
4 x - SJS 82 51 22 9 249 200 111
5 x - CHI 82 46 21 15 267 220 107
6 x - LAK 82 46 28 8 206 174 100
7 x - MIN 82 43 27 12 207 206 98
8 x - DAL 82 40 31 11 235 228 91
9 PHX 82 37 30 15 216 231 89
10 NSH 82 38 32 12 216 242 88
11 WPG 82 37 35 10 227 237 84
12 VAN 82 36 35 11 196 223 83
13 CGY 82 35 40 7 209 241 77
14 EDM 82 29 44 9 203 270 67

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Getzlaf 77 31 56 28 87
C. Perry 81 43 39 32 82
N. Bonino 77 22 27 14 49
M. Perreault 69 18 25 13 43
A. Cogliano 82 21 21 13 42
C. Fowler 70 6 30 15 36
K. Palmieri 71 14 17 9 31
D. Winnik 76 6 24 6 30
H. Lindholm 78 6 24 29 30
S. Koivu 65 11 18 3 29
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
F. Andersen 20 5 0 .923 2.29
J. Hiller 29 13 7 .911 2.48
 

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