By Kyle Shohara
It was a work day for the Ducks this afternoon in Detroit, as the team prepares for tomorrow’s tilt against the Red Wings while also working out the wrinkles that appeared during last night’s season-opening loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
While there were positives that came out of the loss, such as Corey Perry’s sixth career hat trick, Ryan Kesler’s three-point performance, the team's effective power play and the ability to erase a three-goal deficit, the Ducks failed to execute in other areas, leading to two separate three-goal outbursts by the Penguins.
The “dagger,” as Perry put it during a postgame interview last night, was a shorthanded goal against just 61 seconds into the third period. The goal gave the Pens a 6-3 lead and released what little air was left in the balloon. Head coach Bruce Boudreau said the Ducks were guilty of star gazing at times, something that can’t happen to any team in this league. “At some points, it looked like we were in awe of them,” he said. “You can’t be in awe of anybody in this league. You have to play the game, and we weren’t doing it in the first period.”
Perry said he and his teammates didn’t give goaltender John Gibson enough protection in front of the net last night. “We can be better in front of him,” he said. “He made some big saves, and he tried to keep us in it. We had some breakdowns in front of him that led to a couple of empty net goals that he didn’t have a chance on."
Perhaps some opening-night jitters also played a role in some of the miscues from last night. Regardless, you can expect the Ducks to have a bounce back performance tomorrow night at Joe Louis Arena.
Line combinations were shuffled during practice, and there is a good chance rookie William Karlsson makes his NHL debut tomorrow night. The 21-year-old Swede centered a line with wingers Andrew Cogliano and Jakob Silfverberg today, while Ryan Kesler skated with Matt Beleskey and Devante Smith-Pelly. Karlsson and fellow countryman Rickard Rakell were both battling for the third-line center spot throughout training camp and preseason, and both were able to make the opening night roster.
Karlsson was a healthy scratch last night, while Rakell played 12:36, going scoreless.
AT THE JOE
Joe Louis Arena has, historically, been a house of horrors for the Ducks. Even though the Ducks enter the game with a two-game winning streak at JLA, all-time the club is 5-25-8 in regular season action. Last season, the Ducks arrived in Detroit at the right time. Already riding a five-game winning streak entering the December 17 contest, the Ducks left Detroit with a 5-2 victory to kick start their flawless four-game road trip (with wins in New York (Islanders), New Jersey and Washington), in what ultimately resulted in a franchise-record 10-game winning streak.