Ducks start well, fall short to Wild

Despite their troubles as of late, the Anaheim Ducks roster has plenty of talent on it. Twenty-five games into the season, the Ducks have a record of 7-13-5.

Earlier last week, the rumor mill was filled with rumblings that the Ducks were looking to deal Bobby Ryan, especially when it announced that the Ducks were going to be shuffling their front lines, and Ryan would no longer be playing on the first line with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.

However, instead of dealing Ryan, the Ducks organization decided to make a coaching change, which put Bruce Boudreau at the forefront. During his first practice as coach, he put Ryan back on the first line with Getzlaf and Perry.

Boudreau also chose to put the struggling Matt Beleskey on the second line with Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu, to fill in for the injured Jason Blake.  That line earned a combined four points in Boudreau’s debut against the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday night, in which the Ducks started strong but ended up losing, 4-3 in overtime.

In fact, in the Ducks last nineteen games, Selanne has a total of twenty points, with seven goals and thirteen assists.

On Sunday evening, the Ducks, who currently sit in fourteenth place in the Western conference just above the Columbus Blue Jackets, set to face off against the Minnesota Wild, who currently sit in first place atop the Western conference.

Once again, the Ducks had a strong start, getting two goals in the first half of the first period: a power play goal from Getzlaf and another tally from Koivu. Selanne, who was playing in his 800th game in a Ducks uniform, got assists on both goals.

However, towards the end of the period, the Ducks found themselves in penalty trouble, giving the Wild eighty-six seconds of a 5-3 power play. Dany Heatley scored before the first penalty expired and the Ducks started the second period down a man.

“Well, that’s going to kill you,” Boudreau commented on the significant disadvantage. “We’ve allowed four power play goals in the last two games and they’re all either five-on-three or four-on three.”

The Wild maintained their momentum throughout the second period, getting goals from Casey Wellman and Pierre-Marc Bouchard a mere thirty-two seconds apart, and carried a 3-2 lead going into the third period.

About halfway through the third, Cam Fowler tied it up for the Ducks, but that didn’t last long. A few minutes later, the puck ricocheted off the skate of Nick Johnson and into the net of Jonas Hiller.

The Ducks spent the last 1:58 of the game on a power play and even pulled Hiller to have another extra attacker on the ice, but unfortunately they were unable to capitalize. In fact, Cal Clutterbuck sealed the deal for the Wild on a short-handed empty-netter and the Wild won 5-3.

A frustrated Hiller said, “We have to keep working hard. Sure we tried to come back in the third, but you can’t just play the first ten minutes and then give the other team so many shots.”

Boudreau added, “We have to play sixty minutes. I think we played twelve good minutes in the first period and the shots were at one point 7-2 [in favor of the Ducks] and then the next thing you know it’s 17-9 for them. So we stopped playing and then in the second period, we just stood around and watched and felt a little bit sorry for ourselves.”

The Ducks will try to play a full sixty minutes on Tuesday when they host their cross-town rival, the Los Angeles Kings.

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