Anaheim Ducks: Missing in Action Against the St. Louis Blues

SKCorrespondent IOctober 18, 2009

ANAHEIM, CA - OCTOBER 17:  Evgeny Artyukhin #24 of the Anaheim Ducks and David Perron #57 of the St. Louis Blues battle for the puck in the third period at Honda Center on October 17, 2009 in Anaheim, California. The Blues defeated the Ducks 5-0.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Back-to-back games are tough.

...The Ducks haven't played in two nights.

The season is long.

...It's only game seven.

There is NO excuse for a 5-0 shutout on your home ice.  It's time to show up.  When will this team start doing that?  Regularly.  Consistently.

For the most part, the Ducks have been showing fans individual effort.  No one line has dominated or come together as a cohesive unit.  It's either been the Teemu Selanne or Corey Perry show, and a few guest stars have come out to play, but there has been very little in terms of team strength.  

For a team who worked so hard in the offseason to produce more offense, this is really concerning.

The real truth to Saturday night's game is this...the Ducks were OUTPLAYED.  In every sense of the word.  The Ducks were out hustled, out skated, out smarted, out shot...and it happened at home.

Just before the game started, the jumbo-tron flashed a quote from Corey Perry, "We want to own our building."  Saturday night, St. Louis rented out the Honda Center and then annihilated the Ducks in that building.

At this point, but the penalty kill and the power play units have had their fare share of up's and downs.  Unfortunately, against the Blues, the Ducks were nothing but down.  Unable to successfully kill power plays, allowing St. Louis to set up and dominate down low made it very difficult for either goal tender to play their game.  

Jonas Hiller looked awkward and uncomfortable for the first time since this season has started.  While the transition to JS Giguere in the second period may have given the Ducks a boost, it did nothing to help the team find the back of the net at the other end of the ice.

Watching the team struggle to set up on Power Plays is very disturbing.  I was hoping that having Ryan Getzlaf run the power play would be an effective way of creating puck movement throughout the zone, but somehow I don't think it's working.  In fact, puck movement isn't working anywhere on the ice.  

Passes aren't clean and they aren't connecting.  Individuals are being out muscled along the boards, and cycling the puck down low is non-existent. 

Even more unsettling is that the lines are constantly changing.  Because the team is unable to find that connection, Randy Carlyle is hoping that moving players up and down will create a spark. Unfortunately, I think it's only creating confusion.

What is the problem?  Is it the distractions?  Is it Red-Carpet pre-game festivities like the Ducks experienced opening night (resulting in a 4-1 trouncing by San Jose)?  Or the most recent Face-Off fest this past Thursday?  Is this team too relaxed at home because the weather is so glorious in Southern California that they can't pass up a tee-time?  

Or is it too hard to focus during warm-ups and game time because of the blondes in the first row?

Something is keeping this team from coming together.  A few days ago, it felt like they needed to come home and gain the support of the fans.  Maybe they need more bonding time on the road?

How many games into this season before we have to stop using the phrase..."It's still early..."


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