After last year's disappointing loss in the second round of the playoffs, it looked like the Ducks were going to rebound this year. However, that hasn't happened. In fact, just the opposite has happened; the Ducks can't get any points and are dead last in the Western Conference.
There are a number of things that have been going wrong for them this season, but you never would have been able to have predicted some of them.
Right now, penalties are killing the Ducks . These penalties are the biggest reason that they are losing games.
However, these penalties also come from the physical style that the Ducks are playing. They do take a lot of penalties, but they are also having trouble in some other areas, as well.
Defense in general is a huge problem for the Ducks. They have a terrible penalty kill and have also let in the fifth-most goals in the NHL. This is partly because the defense is giving other teams too many opportunities, but it's also because Hiller has not been himself lately.
Right now, Hiller is ranked 21st in the league in save percentage. I would have to say that he's in a bit of a slump, because he usually plays better than this. I wouldn't be too worried about him because he should be able to start playing better as the season moves on.
Another problem that the defense is causing is in the attacking zone. Since the defense is having a hard time keeping the puck out of the net, the offense has to put the puck in the net more often. The Ducks do not have a bad offense, but they don't have good enough shooters to make up for the trouble the defense is causing.
The Ducks are ranked 15th in the NHL in goals scored. That would be acceptable if the Ducks were playing better defense. Unfortunately, the offense is consistently having to bail out the defense.
The biggest example of this was the 7-4 loss against the Red Wings a few days ago. The Ducks were able to score four goals, but the defense blew the game. They gave the Wings way too many opportunities at the end. Even though they scored three goals in the third period, they let the Wings score five in the same time frame.
We could see the offense trying to bail out the defense, and the defense giving the Wings chances that they just shouldn't be giving. That's been happening to the Ducks the entire year. We saw it against Toronto and Columbus last month, as well.
Until the defense for the Ducks starts playing better, you can expect to see them lose a lot of high-scoring games.
The Ducks also need to become more disciplined and play a cleaner style of hockey. That way, they will spend less time on the penalty kill and more time in the attacking zone, which would play to their strength.
If that doesn't happen, the Ducks are going to be in for a long year.