PostGame PostUp: St. Louis 4 Anaheim 7

Posted: 01/13/2011 by bc in Uncategorized

From the PreGame PostUp:

Keys to the Game:

Forget the systems and strategies. Forget the special teams though Ducks PP is hot and the Blues PP is not. All the stats and conventional wisdom is baloney when these teams take the ice.

Games between these Western Conference rivals come down to two things, (1) the one on one battles in the game within the game and (2) who gets to the loose pucks first. In other words which team is on its wheels.That’s exactly what we saw. Our Ducks came out skating, won many of the one on one battles, got to the loose pucks and Hiller was strong in net. The first period ended with our Ducks ahead 3 zip.

In the second our guys made an impressive display of skating on their ankles. We hung Hillsy out to dry and allowed the Blues to get back into the game. The second ended with our Ducks ahead though the 3-2 lead seemed a tad precarious.

When the puck dropped in the third our Ducks got off their ankles and up on their blades. Bobby Ryan completed his hat trick at the 30 second mark and the Ducks never looked back. The guys built a 7-2 lead before Hiller lost interest and gave up a couple of soft ones.

This game was all the evidence you need to know that when Jonas Hiller says that the only stat he cares about is wins, he ain’t kidding, yaw.

Old Time Hockey was on display in a tilt that featured 11 goals, 78 PIMS, 6 fighting majors and two lien brawls or what we old timers call a Donnybrook*.  The stripers were pretty generous in not assessing more.

Despite the score, it wasn’t a wide open affair. The game really was all about the one on one battles, skating and getting to the loose pucks.

Our Ducks finished the six game home stand with a 5-1 record. All five wins came in regulation time. Four came against Western Conference rivals who enjoy games in hand over our Ducks.

The run finds our Ducks in sole possession of the fifth playoff seed, five points ahead of the slumping ninth place L.A. Kings. A little cautious optimism is in order.

Looking ahead, our Ducks have two, four game road trips between January 18 and February 13. We need no less than 10 of the available 16 points from those eight road games. Ten of sixteen points is a .625 P% that keeps our Ducks on pace for finishing the season with 95 points.

Ninety-five doesn’t guaranty a playoff seed but it will keep us in the hunt probably through the final 2-3 games.

You may have noticed that I haven’t tossed an Elmer at Coach Carlyle recently. There is nexus between Carlyle’s public comments, the execution by the players individually and collectively and the recent  success. Specifically RC’s instructions are,  go to the dirty areas, be strong on the puck, get in on the forecheck and keep the feet moving.

Nobody should interpret this as an endorsement of Randy Carlyle’s coaching system and technique. This recognition belongs in the every dog has his day category.

The schedule has been kind and our Ducks have responded. Now the degree of difficulty goes up a notch. Between now and February 18 our Ducks play 11 of 14 games on the road, including two back2back games.

Both Bob Murray and Randy Carlyle have trotted the “tough schedule” excuse often during the first half of this season. During the next four weeks we learn if the GM, Coach and Trainers have learned how to keep the guys rested, hydrated and able to win without having the last change and favorable bench.

*The first known use of Donnybrook to describe a free for all brawl was in 1852 for the goings on at Donnybrook Fair in Ireland. Wouldn’t you know the Irish were involved now;)

 

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Comments
  1. jenelynrusso says:

    Fun game to watch, for sure. Was that really Lubo’s first PP goal of the year? Need more like that from him. Hazy mentioned a couple of games ago that he thought this team was finally getting an identity. And when they play to that identity, they win. What are your thoughts on that given last nights game?

    • BackCheck says:

      Hey Jenelyn,

      Coach Carlyle said their identity is as a strong forechecking team. Pretty boring, huh? Under Brian Burke the identity was Big Bad Ducks. Big Bad Ducks was a good description for an in your face, strong forechecking team.

      During the six game winning streak we learned that Bobby Ryan and Danny Syvret were into the video game Angry Birds. A bunch of us here and on the OCR Ducks Blog started referring to our Ducks as the Angry Birds. It got picked up on a few other blogs and by posters on the Ducks Official website.

      Then our guys promptly went out and lost six in a row. Angry Birds kind of fell away.

      The team is definitely much closer to being the same page. The trust, respect and support for one another has been growing steadily since the round of player/coach meetings. There is definitely an identity emerging based upon the re-established trust, respect and support.

      I wouldn’t call it established yet though. Coach Carlyle called them a work in progress. That seems pretty accurate. That confident Angry Bird swagger isn’t evident yet. If our Ducks continue their winning ways at home and start winning on the road, they’ll swagger in.

      Jenelyn, it’s ironic that you would see and sense the team identity or group dynamic forming. Earlier this morning I shared with Retired Hockey Mom that I’ve now gone back to your Wild Wing public skating pictorial essay 5-6 times. In those 37 pics you really did capture the range of emotions during a typical day at the rink.

      • jenelynrusso says:

        I can’t take credit for those photos, as I didn’t actually take them. I normally take my own, but OCR sent a photographer for me that night. That way, I didn’t have to worry about skating with my kids while trying to shoot. I did guide her in what I wanted captured, and she did a great job. Thanks for the kind words.

        Maybe it’s the confidence and trust I’m seeing. Although they did seem somewhat like Angry Birds last night! The road trip will tell a lot. They can’t afford to do poorly, or they will be out of contention for sure.

      • BackCheck says:

        “Maybe it’s the confidence and trust I’m seeing,” posted Jenelyn.

        Andy Sutton seems to agree with you. He told the OCR’s Eric Stephens:

        “We’re starting to get a quiet confidence in what we’re doing,” Ducks defenseman Andy Sutton said Wednesday following a 7-4 win over St. Louis. ”I wasn’t there in the early part of the season but I could tell that we kind of had some panic. Going into the third this time, there was no sense of panic. We just knew we were going to win the game.

        “We knew what we had to do. … The rest is history.” http://bit.ly/fJ7zcU

        Obviously at least one professional, Andy Sutton, sees exactly what you see. So you’re welcome for the “kindness.” You and Brokeback Broughton didn’t earn my kindness though. You earned my respect.

  2. buick22 says:

    RC also took a time out when it was necessary. he was doing things right. The caveat being it is easier to make decision with a three goal lead…Lupul looked lazy and ineffective…just an aside, LaPierre, though less o a true scorer, was running circles, and even Sutton looked like could play….saved a goal, and made some nice passes, and good decisions…

  3. buick22 says:

    Well that is the question. The schedule looks kind of soft compared to early in the season, that usually spells disaster, someone in the room needs to keep them angry, and on edge, if they can forecheck like they have been, great, they coast, and they’re screwed, all those teams are hungry, we have to be too.

  4. buick22 says:

    Parts of the trip will be tougher than others, at least no back to backs, or crazy time zone swaps, it almost seems like they had a different NHL scheduling official draw up the second half, after the first guy was fired. This road stretch is crucial to our season, we need to bring the game to them every night, no matter the opponent…because of our record, and the nutty games in hand, this is where we become contenders, or our season is flipped on its back.

    • BackCheck says:

      Here it is by the numbers buick22. Ducks home record is 16-7-1 good for 33 out of a possible 48 points. The home P% is a stellar .688. On the road our Ducks are 8-11-3 for a P% of .431.

      Here’s the scary part. Our Ducks have 19 road and 17 home games left on the schedule. Assuming the guys continue winning at their present home and away rates, our Ducks finish the season with 91 points.

      Eleven of those nineteen road games will be played before February 24. Another reason to expect the GM to make his moves sooner rather than later.

      Ninety-one points probably won’t be enough to make the playoffs.

  5. czhokej says:

    I do not see the Ducks as a strong forechecking team, in spite of some recent improvements. Many aspects of the game look better, even though I often wonder why it took half of the season to correct some shockingly obvious problems.
    Another thought: Are we playing better without Getzlaf? It looks like that.
    I believe that Getz was slowing the game down too much, taking the play too often to the corners for the cycle and behind the goal. He wanted to be a passer, therefore he very rarely went for give-and-go, and he did not attack the net enough (at least during first 20 games of the season ). I was always angry at him that he was not interested to battle the defense around the crease. For the same reason (among others) I was unhappy with RC that he did not change Getzy’s game.
    bc, I would like to know what you think of that, or correct me if I am wrong.

    • firerandy says:

      Good question! I have often wondered what the ducks coaching staff could do to take getzy to “the next level”. It was ingesting to hear randy’s comments last night after the game on the 3 pronged approach they use to work with bobby.

    • BackCheck says:

      Hey czhokej, we agree though I would add that definitely the team is coming together in Giveaway Getzlaf’s absence 😉 Before the injury the Cap was second to only Francois Beauchemin in giveaways. Ironic that the guy Getz patterns his game after, Joe Thornton is now tied with Frankie for the lead in Giveaways.

      Getzy’s game is directly dependent on his skating. When the feet are moving he’s around the puck and involved. When he’s gliding he’s outside on the perimeter, as you noted and irrelevant. It’s those time that his mistakes, turnovers, are magnified and hurt the team.

  6. firerandy says:

    The hockey experts at thn.com said lilja is the biggest disappointment this year for the ducks in their mid season pacific div. report, I guess blocked shots are no big deal over at thn. I don’t think too many ducks fans or pacific div. hockey observers would agree with them. Backcheck what would you say the biggest disappointment (besides the obvious mr. sutton) for our ducks is?

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