After an extended road trip that was as distressing as the previous weekend was for When We Were Young Music Festival Day 1 ticket holders (*sob*), the Anaheim Ducks returned to the friendly confines of the Honda Center to lick their wounds and start anew. And just like the aforementioned Day 1 ticket holders who returned home looking to put their most recent travels and travails behind them*, the Ducks began to show some signs of improvement but were ultimately weighed down by the ghosts of their recent adversity. Perhaps they accidentally heard Welcome to the Black Parade on the radio?
*This writer had tickets to the canceled Day 1 of the When We Were Young Music Festival and isn’t quite over it, if it isn’t obvious.
Normally this is the part of the article where jokes would be made at the expense of the Ducks’ opponent’s locale, but Florida jokes are played out so instead I’ll take this opportunity to talk about lightning instead. Did you know that the old saying about lightning striking the same place twice is actually a myth? In reality, it actually frequently strikes the same place multiple times. The exception is, of course, Tampa, where lightning struck in 2020-2021 with the Buccaneers and Lightning both reaching prominence and winning their respective championships – and, given the Bucs’ season thus far, where lightning will never strike again**.
**The Rays also made the World Series that year, but given that their 2022 average attendance was 13,927, the word “prominence” will never, ever apply to them.
Also, Disneyland is better than Disney World.
What’s Stayed The Same
As in previous games, the Ducks spent most of the game on their back foot as Tampa’s Corsi For was 61 vs. 47 for Anaheim. The Lightning were also far more dangerous with the scoring chances they did take: 75% of high danger scoring chances belonged to Tampa, which is the highest percentage the Ducks have allowed all season.
These numbers add up to a trend that has emerged after the first 7 games of the Ducks season: with the exception of their most recent game against the Detroit Red Wings, the Ducks’ Corsi For Percentage hasn’t surpassed 45.60% this season, suggesting that games are being largely played in the Ducks’ defensive zone. This is further bolstered by a cumulative high danger scoring chance percentage of merely 37.14% this season – nearly 10% lower than their percentage last season of 46.36%. Zone transitions on both sides of the puck are a glaring weakness of Eakins’ system that contribute to these numbers: without improvements in their ability to successfully exit their defensive zone and maintain possession when entering the offensive zone, the Ducks will continue to be outplayed when it comes to scoring chances.
In spite of the aforementioned Corsi disparity, the Ducks’ Corsi Against of 61 was actually tied for the second lowest of the season (the lowest being 53 during their previous game against the Detroit Red Wings) which – when taken in the context of the Ducks’ numbers this season and the fact that they kept the game tied 2-2 until late in the third period – is an impressive performance against a dangerous team like Tampa.
The Comtois-Zegras-Terry line, which had a time on ice of 10:28, had a particularly stellar outing by contributing to both Ducks’ goals and all three of their 5v5 high danger scoring chances. Relative to when they weren’t on the ice, the Comtois-Zegras-Terry line had a Relative Corsi For Percentage of +31.16% – impressive when compared to the more ineffective Henrique-Grant-Silfverberg line with -10.56% and a time on ice of 8:48.
On the defensive side of the puck, Jamie Drysdale – who had a time on ice of 20:03 (second highest among all Ducks players) – was excellent with a Corsi For of 54.84%. As the only Anaheim defenseman with a Corsi For above 50% this game, Drysdale stood out in shutting down the Tampa offense and allowed 58.33% of scoring chances to be taken by the Ducks when he was on the ice. Given the defensive lapses we’ve seen this season, having a defenseman stand out in a positive way is a refreshing change for Ducks fans.
At Least We Don’t Have This L
Maybe things aren’t so bad for Ducks fans (who aren’t also Bucs fans).
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All statistics sourced from Natural Stat Trick.