If The Sopranos taught me anything, it’s that people from New Jersey aren’t to be messed with. So unlike every other city the Ducks have played in this season, I’ll avoid making fun of New Jersey and instead focus on how it’s a lovely bedroom community with incredible attractions that you simply can’t find in New York City next door, including:
- Professional Football
- Philadelphia the next state over
- “The extra space is worth the commute”
- The worst air quality in America (it’s like spicy air!)
- Parking lots
- Diners, but like the kind that doesn’t have oat milk and makes food you can easily make at home
- The New Jersey Turnpike
- Music my stepdad listens to
Unfortunately, just as they had during their previous games in the Tri-State Area, the Ducks became dizzy and uncoordinated from the local Jersey air as they gave up an early two goal lead to lose 4-2. As I recap this game, please just remember that if my body is found floating in the Hudson River, don’t believe the note.
“Wow, Maybe This Time Will Be Different!”
In spite of a Corsi For Percentage of only 33.33% during the first period, for the first time this season the Ducks went into the first intermission with an early two-goal lead courtesy of Jakob Silfverberg.
It was with bated breath that Ducks fans (well, me) prematurely wondered whether the Ducks could hold on to this lead and steal a victory in spite of being vastly outperformed in every statistic aside from the goal column, including:
- Shots on net: 6 for the Ducks, 11 for the Devils
- High danger scoring chances: 1 for the Ducks, 6 for the Devils
- Expected goals for: 0.64 for the Ducks, 1.32 for the Devils
“Here We Go Again…”
Unfortunately, lucky bounces are far less reliable to predict future success than statistics, and the Ducks’ terrible play caught up with them in the second period.
Zegras had an off game as he gave up 2 giveaways and had a relative Corsi of -3.14%. However, the entire team (with the exception of McTavish) seemed sluggish and confused about their defensive assignments, as the Ducks allowed 43 scoring chances for the Devils with 21 of them being high danger.
In spite of entering the second intermission with a (theoretically) winnable tied game, the Ducks did absolutely nothing in the third to secure a victory with a dismal 1.9 Corsi For and only 1 scoring chance 5v5 when adjusted for score and venue (5v5 SVA), leading to an abysmal expected goals for of 0.06. It was this lack of offensive production that makes one question the logic of Eakins’ decision to sit Pavol Regenda after he had a two-point night in New York.
“Things are happening extremely fast. We want to make sure we’re bringing him along with the right process and we thought it was a night to give him a rest, especially with a back-to-back game.”– Dallas Eakins, Head Coach of the Anaheim Ducks, on his decision to make Pavol Regenda a healthy scratch against the New Jersey Devils
In contrast, the Devils played as a hockey team should when a win is within their grasp, capitalizing on an adjusted Corsi For of 13.57 and 5.95 high danger scoring chances to win 4-2.
While playoff expectations have always been a stretch for the Ducks this season, their performance has been underwhelming relative to where they should be at this stage of the rebuild. While the statistics suggest that the Ducks are in for a rough season, a few confounders still remain: whether their play has been the result of fatigue from an early opposite-coast road trip, and whether their uncoordinated and confused play will resolve as they have more time to develop chemistry in friendlier confines. We are only four games into the season, and the sample size still remains too small to predict how this season will go.
Keep scrolling to learn more about Emma D.A. and follow her on Instagram at @emmaaajay 🧡
All statistics sourced from Natural Stat Trick.