Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Anaheim: Early contender for worst in NHL

"Brutally ugly" Ducks reeling
No less an authority than TSN's Bob McKenzie described Anaheim's start as "brutally ugly." And I know I've already used the "hit the reset button" joke twice, but if anyone wants - and desperately needs - a re-do on the first few days of the NHL season, it's the Ducks.

What seemed like a potentially good season, with players like Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Bobby Ryan and Jonas Hiller (who was very good in the Olympics), has turned into an unmitigated disaster so far. The Ducks aren't just losing. They're not even in these games.

It's hard to believe Oct. 11 could be described as rock bottom for an NHL team, but in Anaheim's case, it's got to be awfully close at the least. St. Louis poured 53 shots on Anaheim netminders, conceded just 14 shots, and rolled over the Ducks, 5-1, behind two goals by Matt D'Agostini.

In three games, the Ducks have allowed 145 shots - let me repeat that: 145 shots - including at least 43 in each game. That's an average of 48.3 shots per game. They've conceded 13 goals and at least four in each game. The defense, with the retirement of Scott Niedermayer, was expected to be a question mark. Boy is it ever. They just signed Andreas Lilja, which can only help that group. It certainly can't get worse.

Anaheim's offense isn't much better, with only 71 shots on goal, only two of which have gone into the net. Somehow the Ducks got 37 shots against Nashville (and were still out-shot by 12.)

The Ducks instead are your source for fantasy hockey penalty minutes: 141 through three games, including 78 against the Blues. Five different Ducks have accumulated more than 10 PIMs in a single game. In three games.

Just... ugh.

Anyway, David Backes, Andy McDonald and B.J. Crombeen also scored for St. Louis Monday. T.J. Oshie posted two assists and Jaroslav Halak made 13 saves.

No Tavares, no problem
Who needs a #1 overall pick when you have Blake Comeau?

Playing without John Tavares, the Islanders didn't miss a beat, getting two goals and an assist from Comeau to defeat the Rangers, 6-4. Comeau's second goal came on the second part of a 5-on-3 power play and was brought to you by a really nifty play by Josh Bailey, who controlled the puck with his back to the cage, posting up like a basketball player, then spinning and firing a no-look pass to Comeau in the slot.

That came 58 seconds after former Ranger P.A. Parenteau banked in a one-timer off Henrik Lundqvist with the man-advantage to tie the game at 4-4. An empty net goal by Frans Nielsen sealed a back-and-forth game.

Artem Anisimov, Brandon Dubinsky and Michael Del Zotto each had a goal and assist for the Rangers. Nielsen, Bailey and Matt Moulson did the same for the Islanders, who got 29 saves from Rick DiPietro.

Pittsburgh tried to blow a game to a team with 15 skaters, but Brent Johnson stood tall and led the Penguins to their first victory of the season, 3-1 over New Jersey. Pittsburgh lost all six games against the Devils last year.

Johnson fended off 30 shots, including 14 in the third period when New Jersey pushed forward, out-shooting the visitors 15-8. Former Devil Paul Martin had two points, including the empty net goal that sealed the win. Alex Goligoski and Mark Letestu also scored for Pittsburgh. Patrik Elias scored for New Jersey.

Slow start no problem for Hawks
I twittered my love for Derek Roy when his goal gave Buffalo a 2-0 lead over Chicago just 2:43 into the game. Then I was thankful he didn't end up a minus after the Sabres let that lead disappear.

Marian Hossa scored twice and Chicago scored four straight goals then hung on to defeat Buffalo, 4-3, for the Blackhawks' first win of the season. Patrick Kane and Nick Leddy also scored for Chicago. Corey Crawford made his first start of the season and shook off the rough beginning to make 32 saves.

Roy and Drew Stafford each had a goal and assist for Buffalo.

In other action
--Jeff Carter scored twice, including the tie-breaking goal late, and Philadelphia doubled up Colorado, 4-2.
--Pascal Leclaire would like to have back the Alex Ovechkin shot that slipped through his pads and gave Washington a 3-2 overtime victory over Ottawa.
--Daniel Sedin scored twice and Roberto Luongo made 41 saves in Vancouver's 2-1 win over Florida.

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