For the second consecutive game our Ducks failed to protect leads in the third period. Tonight we failed to protect two third period leads. It’s the first sign of adversity our Ducks have been challenged by this season.
Ducks drew first blood at 10:12 of the first period when Matt Beleskey scored on a twisted wrister from the top of the slot.
Antoine Vermette answered fifty-nine seconds into the second. Six and a half minutes later Keith Yandle blasted one past Hiller to put the Coyotes up 2-1. Phoenix continued to dominate the period but somehow failed to build on their lead.
Suddenly, Ryan Getzlaf, who is playing his best hockey since that 26 game stretch and playoff run back in 2009, got to a Corey Perry chip in and fired one past Smith to tie the game.
Right then and there Ducks color-man Brian Hayward calls the goal a momentum changer. a tad premature but Hazy might be telegraphing exactly what is wrong with our Ducks right now.
Corey Perry got the first go ahead goal of the third at 1:56 on a tip in of a Ryan Getzlaf feed. Cam Fowler, who is showing some great reads and decisions on when to join the rush earned the secondary assist on the play.
Just 11 seconds later Ben Lovejoy got caught flat-footed at the blue line and gave up a Doan/Chipchura 2 on 1. Doan buried it behind Hiller for the tie.
Bobby Ryan put us up with his first goal in 8 games. Once again the Coyotes tied it up just 1:18 later. Our Ducks, bottled up in their zone, turned it over to Chipchura who got it back to Michael Stone at the right point. Stone slapped one through Hiller. The scorekeepers gave it to Stone, then said Matthew Lombardi had tipped it then reversed again giving the goal back to Stone.
Ducks lost two in a row for the time this season. True they got the sister-kisser points for the regulation tie but we have to come expect more from a team off to its best start in franchise history. Such is the impact of rising expectations.
Tonight it looked like we were still congratulating ourselves for taking the lead long after the refs dropped the puck to start the next play. Brian Hayward knows better than to call declare a goal a momentum changer. Momentum change is something you note after the fact, not in the moment.
Turned out Hazy’s foresight was spot on though. Perry put us up 3-2 just inside the third period. And that’s when we went to sleep and let the ‘Yotes tie it back up. Ben Lovejoy may have bought himself a ticket to Norfolk tonight.
And again, we let down after Bobby Ryan’s go ahead goal when a Corey Perry turnover led to the second tying goal of the third period.
Maybe it’s part fatigue. Maybe it’s a result of early success. maybe it’s in part the inability to play solid hockey for 60 minutes. Whatever the cause or reason our Ducks are facing their first adversity of the season. The inability on two consecutive nights to protect a lead in the third period of a hockey game.
It looks like we anticipated outcomes before we actually earned it.
From personal experience I will share that when this happens, even during the game, the player or player’s know it. You have to re-focus. Maybe eat a little humble pie and talking yourself down back into the moment. It’s born of over thinking and expecting the desired outcome forgetting that you first have to earn each and every point.
And yeah, sometimes the Refs drop the puck before you’re quite ready.And yeah, getting ready is the player’s responsibility.
Jonas Hiller accepted responsibility for his part. “Two or three of the goals were bad goals and you want to get them back,” Hiller said. “These things find a way through even though you think you’re there and playing big.”
While our goaltending was troubling in Phoenix, the Coyotes also exposed some slow feet along our blue line. It was the combination that led to the usually low scoring Coyotes offensive surge.
This is the adversity that can make or break a hockey team.