Thursday, April 26, 2007

Ducks too much in game one

A well rested Anaheim Ducks team spotted the Vancouver Canucks ten minutes of free wheeling and a goal, before the speed and physical nature of the Ducks attack took over the game.

Vancouver suffering injuries to key members on both forward and defensive lines seemed to be skating in quicksand by the middle of the second period. The quick start from the Canucks of the first ten minutes of the first period was quickly forgotten as the Ducks wheeled into the Vancouver end of the rink time and time again, winning the battles on the boards, taking control of the neutral zone and sending many more shots at Roberto Luongo than he had to worry about in the opening series against Dallas.

The Canucks gave their fans a glimmer of hope early on, with a pressing attack in the Ducks zone that resulted in Jeff Cowan’s early period marker, a lead that didn’t last long and wouldn’t be seen again on Wednesday night.

The Canucks looked tired by the second period, the cumulative effect of a hard grinding seven game series with the Stars which ended on Monday night. The Ducks who had taken the weekend to rest and recuperate looked fresh once they got their skating legs, the flow of the game moving their way through the latter stages of the first and for the remainder of the next forty minutes.

Vancouver had a few chances to scramble back into the game, but missed shots wide or broken plays left them with few chances, those that they did take were quickly handled in a workmanlike fashion by Ducks goaltender JS Giguere. Who while not overly tasked on Wednesday, made key saves that frustrated and shut down the Canucks.

The Sedin line struggled as it did in stages of the Dallas series, the undermanned defence made mental errors that gave the Ducks too much possession time deep in the Vancouver end.

There was no such struggle over at the Anaheim bench, Andy McDonald proved to be a one man wrecking crew as he picked up three goals and an assist on the way to Anaheim's 5-1 victory Wednesday. The Anaheim attack providing for more than a few opportunities for the Ducks to capitalize on and taking its toll on a tired looking Canucks squad.

Game one was most likely considered a gimme for the Ducks even before the puck drop, any
team that fights through a seven game series as the Canucks did, will have a problem picking up the focus for a new series.

The loss to Anaheim last night will serve to remind the Canucks that a new series is underway, one that is going to be significantly different in style and flow than the one with the Stars was.

Game two is the one that Vancouver will want to get back on track for, with faster skating, harder hitting and the need to think smarter on the ice. Anaheim is not a team that you wish to provide opportunity to, mental errors and untimely penalties will give the Ducks more than enough chances to score.

Vancouver’s assignment is to play as they did in the first ten minutes of Wednesday, but carry it through for the remaining fifty, anything short of that is just an invitation for the Ducks to take 2 games to none lead for the Vancouver leg of the first four games.

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