Ducks-Red Wings: Penalties Decide the Game

SKCorrespondent IDecember 12, 2009

PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 10:  Saku Koivu #11 of the Anaheim Ducks skates against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wachovia Center on October 10, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

With a final score of 10-4, the Ducks showed very little life against the Detroit Red Wings on Friday night at Joe Louis Arena.

Oh, that’s right, the final score was actually a 3-2 loss in overtime, but the score that hurt the Ducks the most were the amount of penalties called in the game.

In this case, a 10-4 margin in favor of the Red Wings.

Any NHL fan shouldn't be surprised by this statistic.

The absolute unfortunate thing about an overtime loss to Detroit, besides not picking up the much-needed extra point, is the fact that the Ducks actually played a solid game of hockey.

They weren't outshot by a huge margin (27-31), moved the puck well, had plenty of chances, and saw a decent performance from the team all around.

Whether fans agree with the numerous, and often ridiculous, calls made against the Ducks in the game, the fact of the matter is that good teams find a way through that madness. 

Good teams find a way to ride out the ridiculous calls and the one-way trips to the penalty box and find a way to win.

At this point, you have to give the Ducks credit.  Before Todd Bertuzzi (a man the Ducks are STILL paying, by the way) netted the game winner in overtime on what was the 10th penalty against the Ducks, the penalty-killing unit was fabulous.  In the previous nine attempts, the Ducks only allowed ONE goal.

For a team lacking on defense and at times struggling on the penalty kill, this is a fantastic boost to their confidence.

The unfortunate part of playing nearly an entire period's worth of shorthanded hockey, is that it eventually wears on a team.

Plain and simple, during the final period of play, the Ducks were exhausted.  Can you blame them?

The Ducks have been known to take numerous and often unnecessary penalties.  This time, I actually find it hard to say it was their fault.  

However, as much as I would like to point the finger, I can't.  This team needs to find a way to overcome the battles thrown their way because the road ahead of them is not an easy one.  

So let's move along to a highlight or two...

Once again the Ducks are finding their positives in unlikely areas.

At one point during the game it was revealed that the defensemen alone had taken seven shots on goal.  That means the men on the blueline are not only taking shots, but those shots are getting through.  

They're making the goaltender and opposing defensemen work hard for the puck, and eventually the Ducks will benefit from this aggressive play.

Overall, the Ducks are passing the puck well and finding the open man.  Getting the puck to the net has been an issue for this team and they're finally starting to correct this problem.

For the first time in several games, the Ducks were rewarded with many scoring opportunities by simply getting the puck to the net.  The bounces will come if they can keep this assertive play in the forefront of their game.

And finally, Dan Sexton is showing once again that he is not going to take this NHL opportunity lightly.  

Sexton is being rewarded with major minutes on the second line along side Bobby Ryan and Saku Koivu and that line as a whole is being rewarded with huge goals and fantastic plays.

His two points against Detroit mean more confidence for the young forward and a shot of morale for the entire roster.

The best part about Sexton's game?  His linemates are playing better too.

The Ducks will need any spark they can get as they head into Columbus to take on the Blue Jackets for the second game on this back-to-back weekend.  

Two points would be a good way to forget the crazy game in Detroit.

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