3 lessons learned from the Ducks’ successful 5 game road trip

The Anaheim Ducks back home in southern California after a short but crowded trip. The trip included five games over seven days, including a head-to-head pairing, and it beat four of the sixteen East Conference road games the Ducks will have to play this season. At times, the offense seems to have occurred during the trip, mainly due to the absence of Ryan Getzlaf and Adam Henrique, who is sidelined by injury. Despite the lack of firepower, the Ducks took a 3-1-1 record and are currently sitting alone at the top of the Pacific Division, although the second-place Calgary Flames have two games in their hands and are just one point behind the Ducks.

Duck leans heavily on the Zegras in the absence of Getzlaf, Henrique

Getzlaf missed the first three games of the trip, while Henrique was substituted through injury after getting hit in the Flames net just before the trip started. As a result, head coach Dallas Eakins had to shuffle the roster. A drop in offensive production was certain to come with two of their top scorers left out of the squad, but the adjustments didn’t help.

Related: Anaheim Duck News & Rumors: Robinson, Henrique, etc

Troy Terry, who once thrived in attack with both Getzlaf and Henrique, was hit the hardest as a result. Before Getzlaf returned to the lineup for the fourth game of the trip against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Terry was anchored by his linemates. Sam Steel and Vinni Lettieri. Injuries present an opportunity for Steel, who has previously been moved from center to wing in the hope that less on-ice responsibilities will aid his growth in the NHL. While playing as an under-six winger, he was still serviceable. But his struggles in concentrating a straight line continued, and the makeshift touchline was responsible for only one goal in three games together. Terry finally hit the field, scoring two goals in the final game of the trip against St. Louis Blues, which featured a stunning penalty kick in extra time.

Due to injuries, the roster of Rickard Rakell, Trevor Zegras and Sonny Milano face extra pressure to make attacking productions. They answered the call in the first two games, scoring two goals and providing six assists. The most memorable part of the trip (and perhaps the whole season) was Zegras-style goal to Milano Michigan against the Buffalo Sabers. That will be the last goal the line contributes when the offense starts happening. The Ducks have scored just three regular goals in the last three games of the trip, including their first loss of the season at the hands of Casey DeSmith and Penguins on Saturday night.

Simon Benoit lock the bottom pair

The bottom of the defensive depth chart has been a struggle for the Ducks for several seasons now, especially on the left flank. Jacob Larsson has spent the better part of the previous three seasons in that position, but struggles in the position have created opportunities for Josh Mahura and Simon Benoit to take over. Mahura has the advantage of experience in the NHL, having played 41 games before this season compared to Benoit’s six. But based on their recent usage, it looks like Benoit has the job to replace Mahura, who currently only watches game time in head-to-head situations. Basic numbers of Benoit far from the exception, posting Corsi for (CF%) is 48.14% and expected goal percentage (xGF%) is 49.48%, but they are acceptable from a pair defender. double bottom and better than Mahura’s figure.

Benoit’s final scene on the road trip is against the Washington Capitals as he checks out John Carlson. Benoit was whistled for meddling, serving his time, and stepped out of the box and was challenged by none other than Tom Wilson to a fight. Benoit agrees, and the two exchange happily, although Benoit is mostly in self-preservation mode. Not a lot of spins to add to the fight. Perhaps admirable is that Benoit has agreed to take on one of the top enforcers in the NHL. But feeling the need to fight after a fight that, while dangerous, does not cause injury, seems reckless. But this mindset persists in the NHL today, and the future of fighting in the NHL deserves its own space for discussion.

Ducks look like a Playoff team

The road trip is a good barometer for the standing Duck’s position in the NHL. They remain one of the biggest surprises of the season, and the longer that mentality lingers, the more likely they are to return to the knockout stages this season. Poor scoring is certainly a concern, but their ability to win matches by low difference is another good sign when goals are hard to come by at the end of April. Locking them into the knockout stages might be a bit premature given the volatility of the Pacific Division, especially with the rapidly improving Vegas Golden Knights holding only one wild card slot. But at this point in division race, accumulating final points is more important than simply passing the eye test and the Ducks are doing well enough to compete for the Pacific Division championship for the rest of the season.

Looking forward, the Ducks will face Pacific Division opponents in seven of their next eight games. If they continue this route to the Stanley Cup Qualifiers, they will need to keep winning, preferably by regulation. The Ducks have played overtime in five of their last eight games. The generosity of three-point nights is fine when facing Eastern Conference opponents, but a “losing point” assignment in overtime will only tighten the division races. With Getzlaf back in the lineup and defense locked down, they’re in a good position to keep making points.

Morning Skate Newsletter Click to subscribe

https://thehockeywriters.com/ducks-takeaways-road-trip-december-2021/ 3 lessons learned from the Ducks’ successful 5 game road trip

Subhankar Mondal

Subhankar Mondal is a 24ssports U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Subhankar Mondal joined 24ssports in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing: subhankarmondal@24ssports.com.

Related Articles

Back to top button