After an extended offseason and hours upon hours of meeting, the NHL returned last Saturday to arenas, televisions, and fans around the world. The offseason was particularly long for the Anaheim Ducks having missed the playoffs entirely last season.
During the week of practices leading up to the opening day of the season, Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf joked that the Ducks typically do very well in January and February and that for this reason, hopefully the shortened season would work to their advantage.
The Ducks commenced their season last Saturday on the road in Vancouver with a 7-3 victory. They followed that up with a 5-4 win two nights later against the Calgary Flames.
The last time the Ducks had a 2-0 start was the 2006-2007 when the Ducks won the Stanley Cup. Could it be a sign of good things to come?
Only time will tell.
The Ducks held their home opener on Friday night (they were the last team in the NHL to have their home opener) with the Vancouver Canucks as their opposition once again. Since 2008, the Ducks are 9-4-4 against the Canucks, but only 4-2-2 on home ice.
“We were excited to see the crowd tonight!” Getzlaf exclaimed.
The puck dropped to start the game and less than two minutes in, a fight broke out between Matt Beleskey and Aaron Volpatti. With the players and crowd energized, the game was quickly underway. However, just shy of the nine-minute mark, the Ducks found themselves on a 1:29 5-on-3 penalty kill and the Canucks took a 1-0 less than thirty seconds later on a shot from Daniel Sedin. Unfortunately the Ducks were unable to recover and Mason Raymond added to the Canucks lead on another power play opportunity.
And the Ducks luck didn’t change throughout the second period either. The Canucks got an unassisted goal from Volpatti, giving them a 3-0 lead.
To make matters worse for the Ducks, Corey Perry was called for a four-minute double minor with 1:16 left in the period, giving the Canucks a man-advantage for the first 2:44 of the third.
The Canucks were able to put another two on the board before the end of the third, including yet another power play goal, blanking the Ducks 5-0 and spoiling their home opener.
Getzlaf mentioned, “We had one power play tonight and we didn’t score. They had four* power play goals, I think.”
The Ducks found themselves shorthanded at nine different points throughout the game for a totally of around fourteen minutes, almost an entire period.
“We obviously got in penalty trouble. We didn’t do ourselves any favors,” Getzlaf continued.
Coach Bruce Boudreau added, “You can’t take nine penalties against those guys and expect to win the game.”
However, the Ducks don’t have much time to dwell on the loss as they will be looking to bounce back tomorrow night (Saturday) playing host to the Nashville Predators.
*Author’s Note: The Canucks scored three power play goals, not four.