On Monday night the Anaheim Ducks lost the third straight game of the opening round to the San Jose Sharks. That puts the Ducks in a tight spot. They have to win the next four games in a row to make it to the next round. The Anaheim Ducks are facing elimination, after having already played a rough season.
Elimination On The Horizon For Anaheim Ducks
Game three was atrocious. Very simply put, the Ducks were outplayed. The defensemen were giving up pucks in the neutral zones, as well as their own zone. The forwards are shooting the puck, but they aren’t scoring when they need to. They aren’t getting any lucky bounces by any means. And the goaltending has not performed up to expectations. The team as a whole is not producing.
The blueliners are losing puck battles, turning the pucks over at bad times and giving up odd-man rushes. The loss of Cam Fowler is definitely being felt. He was the glue holding the defensemen together, among other things that he is being missed for. They aren’t all bad as Hampus Lindholm has figured into two of the three goals that Anaheim has scored in the series. Brandon Montour, who is arguably the Ducks best player in the postseason, has performed as well. He doesn’t give up on a play and he has heart. Something the rest of the team seems to be lacking.
The Sharks blue line, being led by reigning Norris trophy winner Brent Burns, have been doing their jobs very well. They are blocking shots, winning the puck battles that the Ducks have been losing. They are contributing offensively as well.
The forwards are not scoring. Rickard Rakell and Jakob Silfverberg have a goal each, but that’s not good enough. Corey Perry seems to have all but disappeared. He isn’t contributing offensively and he is taking bad penalties at even worse times. The third and fourth lines have not contributed to the offense at all. The whole team is taking bad penalties and discipline is lacking all over. If the Ducks hope to make it to the next round, they need to find the back of the net and they need to find it now.
The Ducks counterparts have been able to score. The Sharks have put up 14 goals in the three games against the Ducks. They have been outplaying the Ducks up front. Logan Couture has been nothing short of fantastic in this series. In the three games played so far, he has acquired two goals and three assists. Joe Pavelski has put up five points with one goal and four assists. Those two are leading the Sharks past the Ducks. They are a huge reason that the Sharks are dominating the series.
John Gibson is not on top of his game. Signs may point to him rushing back after his late-season injury. Goaltender Reto Berra has been recalled from the San Diego Gulls today, pointing towards a possible injury. Ryan Miller hasn’t been given a fair chance in the postseason. He came into game three at the start of the third period facing a five-goal deficit. He let in three goals before the game ended. If given the chance, he will more than likely perform. He has veteran experience and a sense of calm that the whole team could use.
Martin Jones has been a brick wall in this series. He got a shutout to start the series and has allowed no more than two goals in a single game. In the three games played, he has only allowed three goals overall. This is a huge change from the goaltending we saw to the start the season. When the Sharks need Jones to deliver, he has.
Going into game four the Ducks are facing an uphill battle. The loss on Monday has put the Ducks on the ropes. If they want to bounce back, they need to play better all around. They need to leave everything on the ice and play like they want to be in the race for the Stanley Cup. Game four is on Wednesday night in San Jose. Puck drop is at 7:30 pm pst.
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