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Ducks January Review
By Thomas Harrington
The Anaheim Ducks played 11 games in January and had a record of 4-7-0, earning eight points. They continue to fall behind in the playoff race, but they have been playing better overall recently. Even in their loss to Tampa, Anaheim put forth a solid effort but lost to what is probably the best team in the league right now.
Anaheim’s best game in January was their 4-2 win over Nashville. That win ended the Ducks’ four-game losing streak and was the second time Anaheim defeated the Predators in January. Josh Manson has had an up and down season while also spending time on IR. He finally picked up his first goal of the season to open the scoring, and Adam Henrique made it 2-0 with a powerplay goal. Nashville scored to make it 2-1, but Rickard Rakell made it 3-1 in the second and Derek Grant, playing in his first game since missing a dozen games, scored a shorthanded goal in the third to make it 4-1. The Predators did score a shorthanded goal of their own late in the period, but that was it, and the Ducks skated off with the victory.
The Ducks’ worst game of January was their 4-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues, their fourth in a row at the time. The Blues are arguably the best team in the Western Conference this season, so losing to them usually wouldn’t be the worst game of the month, but it’s how Anaheim lost this one that makes it so bad. The first period wasn’t too bad, as St. Louis took the lead but Max Comtois tied the game, but the wheels came off for Anaheim in the second. The Blues were able to generate 22 shots on net in the middle frame and scored on two of them. In the third, John Gibson and Hampus Lindholm collided behind the net, letting the Blues steal the puck and score into an empty net, one of the most embarrassing moments of the season.
Special Teams Struggle
Anaheim’s special teams weren’t very good in January. The Ducks had 26 powerplay opportunities and scored on four of them. Henrique scored two of those goals, while Daniel Sprong and Nick Ritchie scored the other two. Henrique led the team with three powerplay points, while Ryan Getzlaf and Sam Steel both had two to tie for second. The Ducks were shorthanded 25 times in January and allowed five goals against. Gibson allowed four of them and Ryan Miller allowed one. However, the Ducks did score three shorthanded goals last month; as Grant, Carter Rowney, and Ondrej Kase all scored while the Ducks were down a man. It was Kase’s first career shorthanded goal.
January wasn’t a great month for Anaheim, but three of their wins came in the most recent five games, and they played hard against Tampa Bay. Hopefully, this is a sign that the Ducks are going to continue to play competitive hockey going forward.
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February 1st, 2020