The Anaheim Ducks have already been going through their fair share of adversity over the past several games against the Dallas Stars, but as the scene shifted to the Lone Star State on Monday night, things went from bad to worse for Bruce Boudreau's club.
First and foremost on that list of bad news has to be the injury news surrounding defenseman Stephane Robidas. During the second period of the game Monday, Robidas was slid into by Dallas forward Ryan Garbutt, and he had to be helped off the ice. The team announced that Robidas had suffered a broken right leg, the same injury he had sustained in November while he was a member of the Stars. This fracture was right above the previous one, and while there was no timeline given for Robidas’ recovery, there is no certainty that he will return to NHL ice.
"It's a huge loss because he was playing great," Boudreau said after the game. "And of course I think all the guys on the bench felt extremely bad for him. I mean, here’s your teammate who’s just fought his way back from a broken leg."
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Robidas' unfortunate injury was just one of the many bad things that the Ducks had to deal with in this game. There was also the amplified physicality that both teams displayed, with several players on both sides incurring penalties for extra-curricular activities after the whistle. In the second period of the game, Ryan Getzlaf and Antoine Roussel got into a tussle after the latter apparently flicked Getzlaf’s facemask, which is protecting a cheek injury that he picked up in Anaheim's Game 1 victory. Both players exchanged some punches and both were tagged with minor penalties.
Just about a minute later, the two sides got into it again, with Trevor Daley and Corey Perry doing the honors this time. Once again, the officials sent both players off the ice, as Perry was tossed into the box for holding while Daley went in with a slashing minor. Later in the game, Patrik Nemeth, Mathieu Perreault, Devante Smith-Pelly, and Patrick Maroon all racked up 10 minute misconduct penalties as the game devolved out of control, and after all was said and done, the Ducks found themselves on the losing end of a shutout defeat.
Despite all of the extra undisciplined shenanigans that the two teams engaged in, there were some bright spots for the Ducks in this one. Francois Beauchemin did a nice job of pacing the Ducks' offensive attack in the game, racking up five shots on goal and missing on four more attempts. His defense was also a source of pride in the game, as he blocked three shots and delivered three hits in making the most of his 27:08 of ice time in the game.
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The Ducks also showed some great push in the first two periods of the game as they tried to establish the momentum in their favor in a new building, and only the stellar play of Kari Lehtonen prevented Anaheim from jumping out to a lead. In the first two periods combined, the Ducks had 30 shots on goal, and despite ending up with 37 total in the game, they couldn’t score on any of them.
Needless to say, if a team is going to rack up those kinds of opportunities, the odds are strong that they will eventually convert them. Simply put, Boudreau’s team needs to make sure that they are taking care of their own business out on the ice, and even though they deviated from the plan significantly in the late second and third periods with the slew of silly penalties they committed, the first 40 minutes of the game provided the blueprint moving forward with this bunch.