Currently the worst defensive team in the league, the Ducks continued to show why in Thursday night’s 8-5 loss to the Vancouver Canucks.
Anaheim took the lead late in the first courtesy of a Troy Terry power play goal but it would be short-lived. A tripping penalty from Max Comtois allowed Bo Horvat to tie the game on the power play. Failure to get the puck out of the defensive zone made for a messy second period and the Canucks capitalized, scoring two goals in quick succession. The Ducks would get one back late in the second when Ryan Strome ripped one over the shoulder of Spencer Martin after some nifty passing from Terry and Trevor Zegras to set him up.
Both teams exploded for offense in the third, though there was controversy after the Canucks’ fourth goal was questioned for goaltending interference. It appeared that Jack Studnicka spun John Gibson around before Dakota Joshua slammed home but the goal was upheld. Vancouver would score on the ensuing power play due to the failed challenge, with Andrei Kuzmenko easily converting a backdoor chance.
Comtois then scored in his second consecutive game, catching the Canucks out with a burst of speed before finishing on the backhand, and Zegras answered on the power play several minutes later. However, Vancouver would get one right back after Kuzmenko deflected Tyler Myers’ point shot past Gibson. Just a couple of minutes later, Kuzmenko would score on the rush to complete his first career NHL hat trick.
Max Jones scored his first goal of the season for the Ducks in unusual circumstances, with the play being blown dead with the puck in the net, but the call was reversed after review. Anaheim had chances to get closer with a late-game power play opportunity, but Horvat’s empty net goal put that notion to bed.
Some positives, the Ducks put up five goals and got their first two road power play goals of the season. The bad? They let up eight goals to one of the worst teams in the league and the penalty kill continues to be a hot mess. The offense is starting to find its feet but the defense needs to improve substantially.
Anaheim’s next game is Saturday, a return to San Jose, where they won on Tuesday 6-5 in a shootout.