GameDay: Buffalo @ Anaheim

Posted: 02/29/2012 by bc in Uncategorized

Trending: Each team has sputtered of late. Sabres are 3-4-1 in their last eight. Ducks have gone 3-2-1 in the last six games. Both teams are looking to rebound after losses. With a win, Ducks could leap Minnesota into sole possession 12th place in the Western Conference. Cody Hodgson will be looking to impress his new teammates. It can’t be fun gong from a Stanley Cup contender to a non-playoff team.

The Skinny: Except on draws, Ducks are slightly better statistically in the primary categories including special teams, shots and goal differential. This a game our Ducks should win. Team sports are decided by which team makes the fewest errors. It’s a game of subtraction. It’s the Sabres first game without Frank Selke Trophy candidate Paul Gaustad. Sabres don’t have anyone who can match up favorably against Ryan Getzlaf.

In other games with playoff race implications, Pittsburgh Penguins are in Dallas and the slumping Leafs face off against the struggling Chicago Blackhawks. Our Ducks could finish the night in 12th place just four points out.

  1. czhokej says:

    Going to the Pond today, I hope we win.
    Getzlaf should show us whether that he is the center power forward or defensive force, or both.

    • Have fun! Coach Ruff will probably try and match up Robin Regehr against Getz. Without Gaustad Buffalo is pretty small down the middle. Sabres don’t have a center who can handle Getz physically. Look for the captain to avoid Regehr by positioning himself third man high in the O-zone.

  2. After this 2-0 loss to the Sabres our Ducks backs are to the wall once again. 3-3-1 in their last 7 with Flames in on Friday and the Kings @Staples on Saturday. It’s do or die now.
    From Ducks Twitter feed, Boudreau: “[The loss] is a bit of a heartbreaker, but this team hasn’t quit in 2 1/2 months & I don’t expect them to quit now.”
    That’s an excellent assessment of the situation. Our Ducks went out fighting tonight, literally.

  3. I enjoyed seeing those ‘truculent’ ducks. I honestly think Getz needs that to get involved in the game. AND, did you notice Getz in front of the net there at the end? Your thoughts?

    • Hmmm, thoughts on Getz going to the net in the final minute of the game. The fight was okay because with 40 seconds to go and down 2-zip the game was over. Buffalo played a very chippy game. Our guys, including and maybe especially the Captain, showed a lot of character in avoiding taking retaliation penalties. The calls we did take were marginal, especially Getz alleged hook on Katela. Buffalo, notably Katela and Regehr got away with interference, elbows, slashing, and charging all game long.
      I would refer to cz’s post with the caveat that it was Sabres chippy play that knocked us off our game. Guys tend to stop skating when they’re looking over their shoulders.

      As for our attack, we helped Ryan Miller look good tonight. We didn’t get enough shots upstairs and we didn’t get enough one timers off an East/West passes. The easiest time to score is when the goalie is moving side to side before he sets for the shot. The couple times we did have Miller beat we shot wide or hit the post.

      So yeah what you and bb are noting about the truculence, the failure to execute and play smart that cz is reporting are all spot on observations. We didn’t get the calls that might have evened up or swung the PP’s to our advantage. Give the Sabres credit. They executed and we didn’t. We fought hard but we didn’t fight smart.

      It’s a hard loss to take but I’m proud of our guys tonight. It’s also very helpful to have 3 other good sets of eyes on our Ducks 🙂

  4. bbdux93 says:

    Maybe we need to get Getz involved in a fight earlier in the next game

  5. czhokej says:

    I just came back from the ring, of course disappointed after the loss. But also disenchanted from what I saw. Our Ducks did not show any passion for 45 minutes and then they started to play, but it was already too late. Some penalties came and Buffalo controlled the puck well, covered the space in front of their goal effectively, and from those few chances we couldn’t score. Most of our shots were not dangerous, and we missed a lot of shots from very good positions. But what bothered me most was that the Ducks were not skating, not moving into good open positions, our passes were mostly off the target or to a player who was not moving his feet. We were trying to move the puck into the offensive zone from the wings and along the boards a lot. When we tried dump and chase, we were slow to get to the puck. Our game looked disorganized, we were not driving the net, we played a lot behind the goal or cycled the puck in the corners. At one point I have noticed four Ducks deep behind the goal line in the offensive zone (it looked like RC was behind the bench). Instead of playing good hockey and scoring, our top line was involved in fights. Our players have a bad habit just skating by the net, they do not like to stay (and move) in front of the goal.

  6. Agreed, it was the end of the game that he went to the net, but it shows that he’s capable of it. Hopefully bb shows him some video of it as positive reinforcement.

    Sidebar – bb’s hesitance to hold practices bothers me. Fine with keeping hillsy off the ice (23 games – o-boy) but they really need to work on the pp. Not saying he should go Carlyle on their arses, but i feel bb is at the other extreme from randy. I dunno – maybe Randy’s drill Sargent tactics has my brain fried.

    Back to tonight’s game – thoughts on Fowler…displayed some of that raw offensive talent tonight in the third. Seemed to be making good decisions about when to jump up into the play. He’s got a decent shot too… When he’s not feathering it towards the net.

  7. czhokej says:

    Good thoughts Blake. I also believe that Getz is a very capable player, And when he goes aggressively to the net, he usually scores. I do not know what happened to the team that played so well on the recent trip. Are they really tired? Yesterday (and in Denver) it looked like they were not themselves. Our players were afraid to carry the puck (with the risk of losing it) and rather often made exculpatory passes to others who were (also often) standing still. As a result of this, our game did not have a proper flow. We all know that Fowler, Sbisa and Lubo can carry the puck better than many forwards. They say that Miller was stellar in the Sabres’ goal. He was good, and so was Hiller. Shots were in our favor, but scoring chances were almost even. We got some partial breakaways, they got some. The difference was somewhere else. Most of our shots were low percentage from the sharp angle. Sabres forwards were usually around the net (in front of it), at least two waiting to receive the pass. On the other hand, at least two of our guys were behind the net or below the goal line, waiting for the puck there.
    About BB – I do not know too much about his coaching yet and about practices. The fact is that our PP is weak.

  8. yougetoutwhatyouputin says:

    I saw this game differently…our Ducks worked hard and forced the Sabers throughout the game. We had the Sabers on their heels for much of the game. We pressured them on the penalty kill…the Ducks showed me that they wanted this game. Getz finally skated and worked harder than he has all season. Perhaps he is finally seeing what our team needs from him? Or he understands that the golf course is much closer than he had anticipated?

    The difference in this game was five penalties to many (some weak penalty calls), us making Miller look good (poor shot selection), and the lack of penalty calls in our favor (the refs swallowed the whistle).

    The bottom line is our Ducks didn’t give up…we just lost…unfortunately/fortunately this half season hockey is not enough to get you in the playoffs. Competing for the Cup should be our model not Dedication!

    I consider us Die Hard Duck Fans (I still have my Die Hard Ducks fan card) and we must all realize that our Ducks have come a long way in a short period of time and just making the playoffs may not be a good thing. Our team/management needs to understand that hockey season starts in September and ends in April and competing for the Cup is what we deserve. Therefore, if our season ends April 7th we should be planning our future in March. I would rather miss the playoffs year after year than just make it and exit in rounds one or two. A successful organization gets better year after year and learns from its trials!

    Things Murray should be looking for to making our team a Cup contender: A Weber on defense, a Schneider in goal (we need a solid backup), and no contact extension for more than three years!

    Hope Teemu continues his success in a Ducks uniform and we play the type of hockey we should have played all season…

  9. czhokej says:

    “you”, it’s OK to disagree. I must say frankly that I was bored by our play for 45 minutes. As I saw it, there were very few exciting moments form the Ducks during that time, and a lot of giveaways and careless imprecise passes. But we missed 30 shots, 9 of the shots were blocked, and 43 were on the net. That’s certainly is a lot of shooting. And several of those missed shots were good scoring opportunities. But I did not like our skating and positioning.

    • yougetoutwhatyouputin says:

      cz, the game may have not been our best and I agree that our positioning and skating were poor. However, how much more can we anticipate from our group in such a short period of time? Hence the need to play a full season of hockey so you can absorb these off nights. How long can we continue on 103 octane? If we were given a few of those somewhat offside calls or a few of those swallowed whistle penalties the game may have been different.

      Perhaps the reason the game was so slow in the beginning was because our Ducks understand that they have a real slim chance of advancing…it becomes a humbling experience to continue to play your A game with little on the line!

  10. czhokej says:

    “you”, you are right, that transition from RC style and his system must have been very difficult. i believe that the players still react instinctively to many game situations, because they were conditioned to do it differently in the past. And that pressure and mental and physical demands were huge. Maybe I am too demanding, and I expect our top line to dominate every time every shift they are on the ice.

  11. FYI: Gabby running PP drills at practice. Source: Eric Stephens Tweet.

  12. I saw that brad. Interesting too – he takes complete ownership over the pp (doesn’t even want the other coaches involvement). Any who…I’ve been saying for a week or two that they need to practice their pp. Good to see coach and us are on the same page about that.

    • Nope. Coach and you are on the same page. That was you bud. Go ahead and take ownership. I find it reassuring when I get on the same page as the pro’s. But you get the props for calling out the PP.

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