Effort There, Execution Not So Much
The 5 – 3 loss to Anaheim tonight is a tough one to characterize. Lots of effort, particularly out of the gate when Anaheim had lots of jump after 3 days rest and showed lots of spark. We did a good job of keeping up the frenetic pace and played them to a standoff.
Our downfall tonight consisted of the following, IMHO:
Sloppiness In Our Own Zone — We got caught tonight watching the puck too much and reacting, rather than anticipating and moving. 4 guys turned toward the goal watching for a rebound, and nobody watching Getzlaf or (fill in the blank) in the slot or the crease.
Inconsistent On The Entries –We had long stretches where we had difficulty creating any momentum coming out of our own zone. This was due in part to the scrambling in the defensive end, but also simply due to inattention and sloppiness.
Goaltending — I might take some heat on this one, but I gotta call ‘em as I see ‘em. While Pazzy made some really nice saves tonight, he just didn’t make the huge save when he needed to . Most importantly, however, he created some of his own trouble by giving up rebounds right in the crease. The Pazzy of last year would either a)not give up the rebounds or b) steer them to the corners.
Give the Ducks their due — they were rested, played with precision and intensity at both ends of the ice, and had some super saves from Giguere.
Some positives for us:
Power Play/PK — Incremental improvement here. Lots of movement and finally a PP goal. Not very good yet, as shown by the zilch scored during the double minor, but at least we got some prime shots off. PK was solid all night
Faceoffs and Hits — Much better in both of these categories. Stayed with a very physical team in hits, and won their share of faceoffs.
Individual Contributors– Tyutin continued his solid play, and Brassard showed more life. Commodore has been a rock, and jumped up well. Honorable mention to Russell and Wilson, both of whom showed flashes of why they are there. Modin was a contributor again. Nash had a monumental physical effort, but may have tried to do too much. Ditto Huselius.
Perseverance — It would have been easy to lay down in the third, but the CBJ once again refused, and made a game of it at the end. No moral victories here, but good to see nonetheless.
Here’s Thinking of You — OKT being slingshotted to the ice and that ghastly vacant stare, accompanied by the bleeding, was one of the scariest moments I have ever seen on the ice. More about fighting today in another installment, but here’s hoping all is well with Tolly. Good to see him get off under his own power, sort of. I know it was a fight, but that type of sling down should be penalized.
Bottom Line — A bad road trip, but not fatal. The team learned some things about itself, some good some bad. I suspect that Howson has also just about reached the point where he understands what we need, and will likely act sooner than later, particularly if Tollefson is out for any lenght of time.
We have 2/3 of the season left, have 3.5 days to practice and continue the maturation process, and fine tune some things on both ends of the ice. I’d like to see Hitch go back to some line combinations that have worked, and stick with them for a bit. Veterans are quick to adjust, but I think we are seeing the strain on the younger players from the line shifting, and the resultant impact to scoring. The first third of the season has been a learning experience. Now the playing needs to start in earnest. Nashville will be a great opponent to start with.