The Anaheim Ducks entered Friday night’s contest against the Detroit Red Wings as one of five teams to have already played 27 games in the regular season. However, it was already their second game out of fifteen for the month of December.
By the end of the month, the Ducks will have played 41 regular season games; half of their season will be over. However, how they hold up through the month will be the big question.
The Ducks have already had a rollercoaster of a season, having both winning and losing streaks of six or higher under their belt. They are going to have to maintain consistency and stay healthy throughout the already hectic holiday season, if they plan on even having a shot at earning a playoff berth come January.
After a disappointing end to last season, the Ducks players, coaches and fans, would love to think that not making the playoffs last year was just a fluke and the combination of a little hard work and the talented names on their roster will earn them a shot at the Stanley Cup.
However, only those with rose-tinted glasses would see this as being an easy task. The rough start to the Ducks season is going to be tough to overcome and with the added pressure of nine game on the road in the next four weeks, the Ducks are going to be forced to pull from somewhere deep within to conquer their obstacles, but first they’d have to deal with their Western Conference rival Red Wings.
The Red Wings got an early jump on the Ducks, as Johan Franzen scored his 11th of the year on the games very first shot 69 seconds in. The Wings added two more second period goals — from Tomas Holmstrom and Danny Cleary — and one in the third en route to a 4-0 win Friday night.
“There were a couple mental lapses there and we’re down 2-0 and then they get the third one at the end of the period,” said Ducks forward Corey Perry. “It was a heartbreaker, but we battled hard tonight.
In fact, the Ducks outshot the Red Wings in every single period for a total of 41-29 and got three power play opportunities, but could not find a way to solve Jimmy Howard, who recorded his second shutout of the season.
The Red Wings sealed the deal as Valtteri Fippula scored his seventh of the year with 30 seconds left in the contest.
“If we play as hard as we did tonight, in every game this year, we’ll be alright.” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle stated.