By Adam Brady
“Discipline” was the word of the day as the Ducks prepared to jet off to Nashville facing a 2-0 series hole with the Predators that few saw coming when this First Round series began.
Anaheim took six minor penalties in last night’s frustrating 3-2 loss at Honda Center, forcing the Ducks to face five different Nashville power plays – one of which proved to be a backbreaker. During a man advantage late in the second period, Predators defenseman Shea Weber got three whacks at his patented one-timer, burying the third one to give Nashville a two-goal lead.
|Stanley Cup Champions that Lost Games 1 and 2 of the First Round |
Carolina Hurricanes in 2006
Boston Bruins in 2011
Los Angeles Kings in 2014
NOTE: Carolina and Boston lost Games 1 and 2 at home (both to Montreal). LA lost Games 1 and 2 on the road (to San Jose), but also lost Game 3 at home.
This morning at Honda Center, just before departing for the airport, Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau lamented his team’s lack of discipline in taking those penalties.
“Unless you’ve been in the game, and every player knows what’s at stake because they’ve been working nine, ten months to get to this thing, sometimes it gets over the line,” Boudreau said. “It’s almost like road rage. You know you’re not supposed to do it, you know you’re supposed to be in control, but sometimes you lose control. Obviously it’s something we have to gain back. We can’t take [six] penalties a game and not get our power play on the ice as well. It’s something that will be addressed.”
Although Nashville only scored on one of their five power plays, the frequency the Ducks’ penalty kill unit was on the ice ultimately hurt them in a game where scoring chances were already at a minimum.
“We’ve got a great penalty killing group, but at the same time, if we’re using them all the time to kill penalties, there’s no room for offense,” Boudreau said. “When you’ve got Kesler, Silfverberg and Getzlaf as part of your main penalty killers, those are also our main offensive guys. They’re on the ice for the wrong reasons.”
Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano got the Ducks off to a strong start with a breakaway goal 5 ½ minutes into the game. But Anaheim didn’t find the net again until Nate Thompson cut the Nashville lead to one on a fortuitous goal that deflected off Nashville defenseman Roman Josi.
Cogliano also cited a need for the Ducks to find a modicum of restraint as this series shifts to Nashville for crucial Games 3 and 4.
|“Obviously we’ve come back before, but we need to really buckle down now,” Cogliano said. “It’s easy to talk about it and say we’ve been there before, but this is a completely new series, and we need to go out and do it. We need a win, simple as that. We just need to win a game.” |
“Last night we took two or three penalties that were completely unnecessary in the game, and one cost us and ended up being the winning goal, and others put us down and changed momentum,” Cogliano said. “Until we want to play disciplined like they are, it’s really tough to win. That also means playing the system well and playing a team game. It’s been a huge factor in this series so far, and they’ve beaten us in all aspects of that.”
While the 2-0 series hole is certainly daunting, the Ducks are no strangers to recovering from adversity. Their climb out of a horrid start to a fourth consecutive Pacific Division championship is well-documented, and there is recent history to indicate that a 2-0 deficit is hardly doomsday. In the last 10 NHL seasons, three teams – Carolina in 2006, Boston in 2011 and Los Angeles in 2014 – each lost Games 1 and 2 in the first round, with Carolina and Boston doing it at home (as the Ducks have done). Each of those three went on to capture Stanley Cup titles.
Cogliano said this morning he and his teammates are “[ticked] off” but know they have it in them to recover.
“Obviously we’ve come back before, but we need to really buckle down now,” he said. “It’s easy to talk about it and say we’ve been there before, but this is a completely new series, and we need to go out and do it. We need a win, simple as that. We just need to win a game.”
Going into Nashville, where the Ducks lost twice during the regular season, won’t be easy, but Cogliano says, “We’ve been comfortable on the road all year, and we’re hoping to simplify the game and simplify our system in terms of how we need to play, and we need to play good road games, like they’ve played. We just need to focus on tomorrow. There is nothing else that we need to think about other than putting it all on the line for tomorrow. Then we’ll regroup and go from there.”
Boudreau declined to talk about his goalie situation, not indicating whether he will make a change from John Gibson to Frederik Andersen to shake things up. But he did emphasize the team’s sense or urgency as they face a virtual must-win in tomorrow night’s Game 3.
“We know we’re down 2-0 going into a very chaotic barn,” Boudreau said, “so if we don’t have a sense of urgency now, we never will.”