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'Mistakes Are Killing Us'

Friday, 12.09.2011 / 11:54 AM
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Ducks Off the Ice by Adam Brady
\'Mistakes Are Killing Us\'

Your typical hockey player, when he finds the puck on his stick blade, is faced with a seemingly endless amount of decisions to make. Should I pass it? And to which guy? Saucer pass it? Bank it off the boards? Clear it off the glass? Skate it out of the zone? Maybe dump it in the corner? Should I shoot it? Slap shot or wrist shot? Glove side or stick side? Low or high?

And defensively, play the puck or the body? Make the hit or the poke check? Block the shot or let the goalie make the stop? Take this man or that man on the rush? Play the shot or the pass?

They are decisions that have to be made literally hundreds of times a game and all within a fraction of a second. Mistakes, inevitably, are going to be made, and often forgotten.

But for the Anaheim Ducks lately, those mistakes all too often have ended up in the back of their net. 

“I thought we played a pretty good game against a hot team,” Teemu Selanne said of last night's 4-2 loss in St. Louis. “We’re playing way better than we did a couple of weeks ago. But mistakes are killing us. We can’t get away with a mistake. That’s the story of our season.”

St. Louis is indeed one of the hotter teams in the NHL, winning last night for the sixth time in the last eight games and improving to 10-2-3 under new coach Coach Ken Hitchcock. In other words, they are a team that right now will capitalize on the little mistakes, and that happened a couple of times last night.

The Blues' first goal came in the opening period, when Jonas Hiller seemingly stopped a Jamie Langenbrunner shot, but the puck leaked out behind him. It sat silent in the crease before Chris Porter reached out and dragged it into the net.   

Late in the second, with the Ducks looking poised to go into the break down just a goal, Cam Fowler's dump-in attempt wasn't forceful enough and was picked off by Ian Cole. He swiftly transitioned it to T.J. Oshie, who scored a back-breaking goal that made it 3-1 Blues.

“He has to dump it harder,” said Bruce Boudreau of that play. “We’re too flimsy. That comes from being cute. That’s not just from Cam, but skilled players have a tendency to think they can do everything perfectly cute instead of getting it deep. If you do that, you take the worry out of it.”

Anaheim got within a goal in the third thanks to Devante Smith-Pelly (who the Ducks will loan to Canada's World Junior team for a few days). But that was as close as the Ducks would get, being buried by Oshie's empty-netter after Ryan Getzlaf couldn't get the puck off the wall for a dump-in.
 
“A confident team, with a record opposite of ours, would have put one of those shots in, in the third period,” Boudreau said. “This team’s got a lot of heart, but they need to get on a little bit of a roll to get that confidence. It’s a little bit lacking right now.”

Boudreau talked about his team's "unforced errors" and used another non-hockey reference to describe the state of the Ducks.

“This team reminds me of the Miami Dolphins,” he said. “They lost their first six games or whatever and the coach (Tony Sparano) said they were playing hard. Then they turned it around and won four out of five. I think we’re ready to do that.”

That will have to start tomorrow night in Nashville in an intriguing match with the Predators, revisiting a newly fierce rivarly that was sparked by last year's playoff series and a couple of contentious battles already this season. Both of those have been Nashville wins, and the Ducks would like nothing more than to break that string while starting one of their own.

Unfortunately, the Preds (ninth in the West) are kinda riding high right now after what they did last night in Columbus. Trailing by two goals late in the third period, they scored twice with the extra attacker, including the tying goal from Sergei Kostitsyn with just 12.1 seconds left. Inevitably, they won it in overtime on a Colin Wilson goal just 1:45 into the extra period.

The Preds will also get Ducks favorite Jordin Tootoo back tomorrow after he was suspended two games for a hit last Tuesday on Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller.

The Ducks, by the way, lost Saku Koivu last night to a lower body injury in the second period, and he is reportedly day to day. Anaheim did call up the Kyle Palmieri (leading the AHL with 17 goals for Syracuse ) and brought back Brandon McMillan.

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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