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Round 1

Ducks didn't get enough from top line in first-round loss to Sharks

Absence of Fowler, problems on penalty kill contributed to playoff sweep

by Dan Arritt / NHL.com Correspondent

ANAHEIM -- The Anaheim Ducks were swept in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 1999.

The San Jose Sharks won four straight in their best-of-7 Western Conference First Round series to join the Detroit Red Wings as the only teams to sweep Anaheim in the postseason. The Ducks lost four straight games to the Red Wings in the 1997 Western Conference Semifinals and the 1999 Western Conference Quarterfinals.

The Ducks went 10-1-1 in their final 12 regular-season games to clinch a playoff spot for the sixth straight season. They were seven points behind the Sharks with five games left but won all five to pass the Sharks for second place in the Pacific Division and earn home-ice advantage in the first round.

"Really disappointing," said Ducks defenseman Francois Beauchemin, who is retiring after 14 NHL seasons. "Don't think anyone saw that coming. We played so well for the last 15-20 games of the regular season, but it didn't seem like we had the push to give that series."

Here are 5 reasons the Ducks were eliminated:

 

1. Usual contributors went missing

Every aspect of the Anaheim offense underperformed. The No. 1 line of Ryan Getzlaf, Rickard Rakell and Corey Perry did not have a point at even strength. The third line of Adam Henrique, Ondrej Kase and Nick Ritchie had zero points after combining for 101 (50 goals, 51 assists) during the regular season.

"The production from our group was way down from what our expectations are," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. "I think (the Sharks) had five goals from their fourth line."

 

2. No answer for Sharks' speed, depth

The Ducks struggled to keep up with the Sharks' pace and depth during the regular season, going 1-1-2 and being outscored 11-7, and that carried into the playoffs. The Sharks showed their skating dominance by scoring six goals off odd-man rushes, and displayed their depth by getting goals from nine players.

Anaheim scored four goals in the series, two on the power play.

"Throughout the series we just weren't good enough," Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano said.

Video: ANA@SJS, Gm4: Sorensen pots own rebound in front

 

3. One-sided goaltender matchup

Anaheim goalie John Gibson had a .926 save percentage and a 2.43 goals-against average in 60 games during the regular season. San Jose goalie Martin Jones had a .915 save percentage and 2.55 GAA, also in 60 games.

It was a different story during the playoffs. Gibson had an .889 save percentage and 3.60 GAA, and Jones had a .970 save percentage and 1.00 GAA.

"Throughout the series we didn't give (Gibson) a chance to take over a game with all the 2-on-1s and breakaways we were giving up," Cogliano said.

 

4. Cam Fowler's absence

The Ducks didn't have Fowler, their best puck-moving defenseman, for the series, which impacted their ability to exit their zone more effectively. Fowler injured his left shoulderApril 1 against the Colorado Avalanche and missed the first round of the playoffs for the second consecutive season because of a late-season injury.

The Ducks tried filling the void with rookie Andy Welinski and veteran Kevin Bieksa, but neither was close to the task.

 

5. Penalty issues reoccur

The Ducks were shorthanded 274 times during the regular season, tied for the fourth-most in the NHL, but they had the fifth-best penalty kill at 83.2 percent. They didn't have the same good fortune during the playoffs, allowing six goals in 20 times shorthanded (70.0 percent penalty kill).

The other side of the special-teams battle wasn't much better for the Ducks, who went 2-for-12 on the power play.

***

 

Complete Coverage of the Stanley Cup Playoffs

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Golden Knights vs. Kings

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