Special Report: Ryan & Ducks shoot the monkey

Posted: 12/07/2011 by bc in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

It seems fitting that our Ducks first win under new coach Gabby Boudreau would be a gut it out affair. It certainly didn’t hinder the proceedings when, particularly after the fiasco that was Philadelphia, referees Rob Martel and Wes McCauley let the teams play, calling just 2 minor penalties apiece. The difference though was how easily our Ducks forced the Kings into giveaways and turnovers. Fifteen in all. The most disastrous of which led to Bobby Ryan’s first goal of the game at 7:59 of the first period.
Jamie Quick went behind the net as Rob Scuderi peeled off into right corner, expecting Quick to dump the biscuit into the safe area. Maybe Quick fanned or the puck hit a spur but it deflected off something smack onto the stick of one Teemu Selanne who caught Bobby Ryan sliding into the prime shooting area between the hash marks. Quick didn’t live up to his name as Ryan potted his first goal in what seems like forever. but he shot the monkey. Not done for the evening Ryan also scored the winner as the Ducks got a lucky bounce while the hockey gods were napping. When last seen Ryan’s monkey had hitched a ride onto the back of Drew Doughty and is on his way to Los Angeles.

In what might become a regular feature here, Tweet of the Game goes to:

#AnaheimDucksGoooaaalll Bobby Ryan can eat rice with one chopstick. #fact

Ducks got a scare at 4:26 of the second when Corey Perry looked as though he twisted his right knee as he fell awkwardly to the ice while battling Dustin Penner near the Ducks blue line. Two minutes later Gumby had walked it off and was back on the bench awaiting his next shift.

For awhile it looked as though it looked like this game too would slip away from our Ducks. Up 2-0 our Ducks drew the first power play of the night but were unable to close the sale and go up 3-0 against a team averaging just 2.27 GF/G. Just 3 minutes after a huge penalty kill the Kings got on the scoreboard. The Kings tied it at 8:50 of the third when a not so unusual bounce of the stanchion whereupon Williams and Stoll executed a nice give and go. Every rink has its idiosyncrasies and the stanchions along the right-wing boards in the Ducks end is ours.

Slowly, we’re beginning to see real change in how our Ducks play. The top nine appears set in the short-term, Getzlaf-Beleskey-Perry; Koivu-Ryan-Selanne and Cogliano-Hagman-Smith-Pelly. The Twins still grind it out and Matt Beleskey is so far productive as their left winger. The Finn Twins with Bobby Ryan are more of a puck possession team making plays at the opposition blue line. The third line has yet to define itself but oh man have we got a gem in Devante Smith-Pelly. This young man plays a complete game. Cogliano/Hagman are a poor man’s Koivu/Selanne. With Parros back, Macenauer-Jacques & Big George pounded the Kings into submission each time they stepped out onto the ice.

It appears that the Twins Line will draw the shut down assignments.

Anther difference is Gabby’s Ducks are practicing the maxim that the shortest distance to the net is a straight line. Yes we chip and chase. Yes we get the puck in deep. What’s different is that we’re going to the net quicker. We’re not setting up on the half boards. We’re digging out the puck and setting up in the opposition’s kitchen. It looked as though we took half of our shots from the center lane. Going to the net is the first option, not the second or third as we saw in the past.

I haven’t seen enough yet to report on changes in the defensive scheme. We did set up 3-4 guys along the blue line but we didn’t force the play there. We backed off and honestly I don’t quite get it. It looked as though we were content to stay inside and force the Kings outside down the perimeter. Generally, it looks like less pressure and more box out but there is much more to it. For example, where the support comes from is key.

Overall, as most of you know Bruce Boudreau is much closer to the style of coach I prefer than is Randy Carlyle. This doesn’t make Coach Carlyle a bad coach or a bad person. It does mean our Ducks are quickly moving away from cookie cutter hockey where skill sets and creativity are sacrificed at the altar of executing a system.

Tonight, our guys got rewarded for hard work and playing smart hockey. The worm is turning. For those of you watching the playoff race, we’re now 9 points back.

  1. Hey, 9 points isn’t all that much when you think about how much more time there is in the season…

    • BackCheck says:

      Beg to disagree Nik. With the 3 point game it just isn’t a simple swing of 5 games any more. Then with our Ducks down in 14th there are 5 teams between us and 8th place. It isn’t just catching the 8th place team. We have to beat the other 5 teams in the hunt as well. To get to 98 points required last season our Ducks need a P% rate of .689. Even you accept 93 points, which is the lowest bar I’ve seen, that still requires a P% rate of .655. currently, only one team in the NHL has P% in the neighborhood of .655 – .689, Minnesota Wild come in at .699. Highly doubtful Wild will continue at that rate.
      I’m hopeful in a anything can happen in sport but realistically? Our playoff chances seem pretty remote.

  2. bbdux93 says:

    On Devante Smith-Pelly – I agree – This kid plays hard and smart, amazing for someone so young. He’s a keeper. I look back at how lucky we were to with Cam last season and IMO our lucky find this year is DSP.

    • BackCheck says:

      Just noticed I’d been misspelling his name, duh. In just about a third of a season Devante has established himself as a top nine guy you can trust in any situation. That’s incredible in a 19 year old power forward. I’d rather not speculate to his upside or compare him to other players around the league. DSP is already pretty special.

  3. yougetoutwhatyouputin says:

    One word best describes this outcome…Finally!

    This was a significant victory in so many ways: 1) we showed we can play 60 minutes of hockey, 2) we kept our composure when Perry got crosschecked (while laying down on the ice) from a pathetic play from Penner (Penner looked elated and his teammates congratulated him on the bench, complements of Kings broadcast), 3) We maintained our focus when a clearing attempt from Fowler somehow bounced to a Kings forward for the tying goal, 4) we played a disciplined game…only two penalties, 5) Hiller was solid, well done!, and 6) we played the best 60 minutes of the season and were rewarded with the go ahead goal with less than 50 seconds remaining in the game.

    If this is a taste of things to come I’m ready…I see the drive and passion returning, let’s hope it’s not short lived!


  4. czhokej says:

    Well, I think we played really well only 39 minutes. We panicked at the closing seconds of the second period. That cost us. The Ducks were already thinking of their dressing room and rest, and 2-0 lead. Those closing moments are very important and losing focus is hazardous and reckless. During the first two periods, we were much better team than the Kings. In the third, we did not play well, and the Kings were creating scoring chances and shooting from every position. We again stopped skating. As we said before here, Ryan plays much better with Koivu. Our top line needs much more from Getz. Beleskey was working hard, had some chances but no luck.

    • yougetoutwhatyouputin says:

      I don’t think we panicked at the closing seconds of the 1st period rather we were a bit out coached by Murray as he double shifted his top lines and pushed his defense forward to crash the net for the final seconds. Good strategy…However, Gabby quickly adjusted.

      One thing we need to remember that our Ducks bad habits will take time to correct.

  5. bbdux93 says:

    BC – Off-topic

    I just read that coach gave the guys another optional skate. Is he signaling they may be more tired than expected at this point in the season? Or – – –

    • BackCheck says:

      Hey bbdux93, coaches usually make practice optional on travel days. Plus this group has been through a lot in the past week. With a new coach comes new ways of doing things. Gabby gave one “very optional” and one “optional” practice in the past couple-3 days. My sense is that he doesn’t want to overwhelm the guys with change.
      The message to the team is, “You’re getting it. Fine job.”

      Coach Boudreau is establishing a very different relationship with the players than did the stern taskmaster Randy Carlyle.

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